has confirmed that its Google TV
service, which interfaces with your existing broadband ISP connection through special Set-Top-Boxes (STB) and similar systems in order to deliver internet content onto your television, will finally arrive in the UK during early 2012.
The service, which hasn't done so well in the USA (i.e. complaints about a lack of content and poor user interface design), will enter a market where similar IPTV
solutions have found it difficult to establish
themselves. Google will also face pressure from YouView
), a near identical UK subscription-free and broadband ISP based video-on-demand and catch-up TV service that will launch within a similar timeframe (H1-2012).
Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, said:
"Google TV is a case in point. When it launched, some in the US feared we aimed to compete with broadcasters or content creators. Actually our intent is the opposite. We seek to support the content industry by providing an open platform for the next generation of TV to evolve, the same way Android is an open platform for the next generation of mobile.
Just as smartphones sparked a whole new era of innovation for the Internet, we hope Google TV can help do the same for Television, creating more value for all. We expect Google TV to launch in Europe early next year, and of course the UK will be among the top priorities."
The fact is that, even without Google TV and YouView, there are already growing numbers of Internet Connected TV's
and similar services/devices becoming available. Schmidt claims that "even if YouView meets its revised timetable of launching in 2012, you’ll still have thrown away several years when the UK could have been in the lead.
" Ironically Google TV is also similarly late to the party, not to mention how weak some of the country's broadband infrastructure is. YouView
has at least got some major backing behind it from broadcasters.
A new report from analyst firm Digital TV Research (DTVR) recently suggested that the UK pay IPTV
market would reach less than 1 million homes by 2016 (i.e. pretty poor considering that BT
has 600k today).