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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 29, 2013

Google Said to Be Prepping Roku-like OTT Box

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Google (News - Alert) is prepping a Roku-like over-the-top (OTT) streaming device, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal is citing “people familiar with the situation” as saying that the search giant showed off a prototype of the gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show. It was an Android (News - Alert)-based device that not only streamed Web and OTT content, but also integrated with Google’s Hangouts video-conference service, with an embedded video camera and motion sensor.

This particular device is a separate release from Chromecast, a Web-to-TV dongle that Google announced last week. That USB-sized offering ports content from phones and laptops to the TV set.

Sources said that the earlier device supported YouTube (News - Alert) streaming, TV shows and movies from the Google Play digital-programming store, as well as access to Android apps such as videogames and other digital media services such as, potentially, Netflix and Pandora (News - Alert).

The set-top box was due to be launched at the Google I/O developer conference in May, which obviously didn’t happen. The sources said that they didn’t know if Chromecast is a replacement or if the earlier offering has been delayed for further development.

Rumors continue to abound regarding Google’s future TV plans. Earlier in the month, another report cited sources as saying that that Google is making plans for its own OTT service, which will offer a traditional cable-style TV package for streaming across connected devices. The company is apparently looking to replicate a standard cable or satellite package, with the only real difference being that it would be delivered online and via mobile apps rather than via a standard set-top box. Sources told the WSJ that Google envisions users being able to flip through a programming guide and linear channels the same way that they do now, along with having access to on-demand content.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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