updated 12:15 am EDT, Fri November 4, 2011
Google may use traditional TV to upturn system
In an odd decision, Google may go into traditional TV, insiders may have divulged Thursday. The YouTube owner would use its Google Fiber in both Kansas City rollouts to include TV and possible VoIP phone service, the Wall Street Journal was told. Early talks were said underway with Discovery, Disney, and Time Warner to supply content.
Most details of the rough plan weren't outlined, such as whether or not it would ever go beyond Kansas City. To do that would require deploying the 1Gbps fiber optics in other cities.
Multiple motivations could exist behind the possible move, which is superficially backwards for a company that has often had to fight against traditional providers trying to shelter their TV business. In the short term, it would let Google get directly into managing TV ads.
Longer-term plans, though, could potentially upset the TV industry in favor of viewers. Most major markets have entrenched cable and satellite duopolies with occasional third options, such as Verizon's FiOS TV. Google may face more antitrust investigations than it does today, but its freedom to go without legacy TV networks and willingness experiment could see it undercut the often steadily increasing prices at regular companies.
Google TV could get an incidental benefit by keeping traditional TV. Apple TV, Roku, and most game consoles are all based around shedding traditional TV and have outperformed what Google has to offer. All of Google's strategy has been built around merging regular TV with the web, and creating a more enticing TV package mated with a very fast Internet connection could create the best of both worlds.