This post by Andrew Baron on TechCrunch details the integration of web content into television technology. Over the last couple of years, many major television manufacturers have been building Internet applications into their televisions. However, the newest Apple TV model and the release of the Google TV have transferred a whole new degree of content accessibility from users’
computer monitors to their televisions.
These devices allow users to stream, rent and purchase content to be watched on their televisions simply with an Internet connection; no computer is necessary. Accessing content has never been easier, with both platforms’ on-demand distribution system. And since Google is looking to make its device “open,” it is unlikely there will be a mandatory pay-per-view system similar to Apple’s.
Unfortunately for Google, ABC, NBC, and CBS have managed to install Internet protocols blocking Google TV users from accessing their free online content (mostly archived episodes of older shows and recent episodes of current shows). I personally find this procedure painfully redundant; usually when I watch free online network programming it’s through my laptop, connected to my television as a monitor.
While the networks might prohibit Google from allowing users to stream content on their product, Baron points out in his post that this phenomenon stems from cable providers bullying the networks into making sure that cable stays the primary means of content distribution; in short, they’re scared of the capabilities these devices have (as they damn well should be).
There are many contingent factors that come into play in determining the degree of success these devices will have. One can be sure though that judging by potential and the dramatic increase of web-accessible content, these are no trendy fad set-top boxes, but rather the predecessors to the future of content delivery.