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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 11, 2010

Fox Joins Other Major Networks in Saying No to Google TV

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Fox has become the last of the four major networks to block Google (News - Alert) TV's Web browser from having access to its website, according to a source close to the situation. ABC, NBC and CBS all said no to Google's Internet-enabled device about three weeks ago.

If the News Corp (News - Alert)-owned network did not block the platform from having access to its website, Google TV owners would be able to watch full episodes of Fox shows without having to subscribe to cable or satellite offerings.

Fox actually surprised the industry by not pulling the plug on Google TV earlier. The unnamed source told the Associated Press (News - Alert) that Fox didn't block Google's access right away because it felt the device didn't have a large enough "footprint" to make a significant impact on revenue streams. Apparently, the network no longer sees Google TV as a niche product.

The nation's four major networks have blocked Google TV for good reason: they fear that Google is attempting to circumvent studios and cable providers by offering consumers a no-cost source for proprietary content. Streaming full episodes directly to consumers' televisions would certainly cripple the pay TV market and adversely affect networks' advertising revenue.

Many industry leaders have suggested that the search engine giant can clear up the problems that it has with the networks by paying them for giving users access to their websites, something Google has refused to do.

Rishi Chandra, lead product manager for Google TV, recently said that broadcasters that expect to be compensated for allowing their programming to be accessed through Google TV are "misunderstanding" what the Web-enabled service is designed to be.

Chandra said that networks demanding fees from Google is like them asking Microsoft (News - Alert) to reimburse them each time a video is streamed on Internet Explorer.

"Google TV itself is literally just a platform," he noted.

Owners of the Web-enabled TV can still access regular programming from the major networks through a cable or satellite connection.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf