The launch of Google TV in the UK market will take place in the next six months, according to Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, of which Google’s YouTube was a sponsor, Dr Schmidt said he expected Google TV to launch in Europe early next year. The UK was within the company’s top priority list.
Tackling some of the criticisms that have been made by broadcasters he said Google provided the platforms to deliver content and had no ambition to enter the production sector. Dr Schmidt said Google was already engaging with Channel 4 and Channel 5 and would partner with the UK National Film and Television School.
“When we launched Google TV in the US everybody feared we were competing with broadcasters and content creators. Our intent was exactly the opposite. We seek to support the content industry by seeking to provide an open platform for the next generation of TV to evolve, just as Android is the next generation for mobile”.
The US launch of Google TV in the has been far from successful with the four major networks effectively blocking their content from the Sony and Logitech-manufactured devices.
Speaking about one of the clear candidates to join any UK Google TV, Dr Schmidt told delegates it would be much better if the BBC iPlayer could be extended to more channels, remembering the earlier failure of Project Kangaroo. “Clever lobbying resorted in the regulators blocking it, seemingly on the grounds that it would be too successful.” He said the UK that had been forward thinking was starting to lag behind. “Even if YouView meets its revised timetable of 2012, you will have still thrown away the lead, and that’s a complete lifetime in my world”
Dr Schmidt made it clear that for some shows and some locations there would still be a place for live television, but that a shift would take place over time. “I don’t expect television viewing to ever completely switch to the on demand, there will always be a cultural pull… but I sense the default move will switch to a DVR mode over time. Try convincing a six-year old who is used to things like on demand to give them up.” He added there were hints in shows aimed at a younger demographic, such as ITV’s The Only Way is Essex, where more viewers watch online than have seen the linear broadcast.