Google TV may get a boost from an agreement announced today with DISH Network, which joins the ranks of video service providers that have launched commercial offerings aimed at leveraging over-the-top video content from the Internet and other sources outside their traditional broadcast/cable channel lineup.
DISH Network will offer customers the Google TV set-top box designed to control and display OTT content for $179, which the satellite TV provider claims is the lowest price for the product on the market. The offering also requires customers to purchase DVR integration at a cost of $4 per month.
“Only DISH Network customers will have access to the most fully-featured Google TV experience available, which includes our unique pairing protocol for simultaneous search capabilities across Web and DVR content, as well as DISH Network’s VOD programming,” said DISH Network Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr in the announcement.
The integration of Google TV into DISH’s traditional onscreen programming data should enhance the appeal of the Google product for DISH customers by eliminating the need to use a separate interface. Properly marketed, that also should help prevent DISH customers from using a retail outlet to purchase Google TV or one of several other set-top boxes designed to bring OTT content to the television set, such as the AppleTV offering.
The news comes just a few weeks after media outlets reported that ABC, CBS and NBC–apparently concerned about potential lost TV ad revenues–were blocking online versions of their full programs from appearing on Google TV. One report quoted an anonymous network executive as saying the network questioned “the costs versus the benefits” of making programming available through the Google TV platform.
The inability of customers to watch online versions of broadcast network channels should not be a concern for DISH Network, however, as those channels are already available as part of the video provider’s regular lineup. It’s also worth noting that even video cord cutters can continue to get traditional broadcast channels as long as they have long enough rabbit ears.
With that in mind, the broadcast network fare would seem to have less appeal than some other programming options that, according to Google, were customized for Google TV—including content from Turner Broadcasting and HBO. And the appeal of Google TV should be enhanced in 2011, when the platform reportedly is scheduled to support applications originally designed for the Android mobile platform such as Angry Birds and Google Earth.
For DISH Network, the new deal with Google demonstrates the video provider’s ability and willingness to use a variety of tactics to address the OTT threat. DISH already enables customers to access subscription content from a variety of devices when they are away from home using a Sling platform, helping to maximize the amount of customers’ precious leisure time that is spent watching DISH content rather than surfing the Internet. The Google TV offering now should help ensure that even when customers do watch Internet video, they do it through a DISH-controlled platform.