The first launch of Google TV has not lived up to the hype. Some might even call it a failure. The offer came in the form of a STB (or embedded in Sony TVs) that integrated linear television with OTT offers and a variety of apps. Sales have been less than impressive. Google is about to launch an act two, and despite its slow act one start, it’s worth a look.

Not necessarily because Google TV will be a commercial success, but rather because it gives us a glimpse into the future of the convergence of broadband and entertainment, with implications for all broadband and video service providers. GigaOm has a great post outlining some of the apps that are emerging from the new Google TV. Whether or not Google TV makes it is of less concern – the apps illustrate a potential future.

For example – early IPTV providers can attest to the differentiation advantage TV caller ID gave them over traditional cable TV competitors. Guess what – the Google TV Call Toaster app now allows SMS text messages and calls ringing in on your Android wireless phone to now appear on the TV. Talk about differentiation.

Another interesting development regarding the convergence of apps and entertainment is the ongoing move by media powerhouses to develop apps – not just apps for tablets and smartphones, but now for the TV as well. TV channels like CNN, QVC, Fox Business and others are building apps which leverage their existing content with new interactive features. It’s a great way to repurpose the content they use for their linear channel delivered programs with new interactive features delivered as an app. Makes you wonder if one day, customers will have an option of subscribing to the ‘app’ (maybe at lesser cost) than the whole TV channel. Just another potential possibility of this converged future, on display, courtesy of Google TV act two.

Google is famous for doing this – pushing the envelope for established industries, TV in this case, with little worry as to whether it results in direct commercial success for them. Their billions in profit from search and advertising gives them this luxury. If apps on the TV are ultimately successful, they’ll win whether it’s through a Google TV platform or not, because it will provide more opportunities for their core advertising business.


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