Google plans to launch TV service via Google Fiber
February 23, 2012
Google Fiber, a subsidiary of Google, has filed applications in Missouri and Kansas to operate a video/TV service. The news follows reports that Google is currently laying down the foundation of its ultra-fast 1 GB/s broadband connection in the same city, leading to speculation that this new video service -- which may compete with cable companies -- will piggyback Google Fiber.
"We're still exploring what products will be available when we launch Google Fiber," Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said in an email. The internet service is expected to launch at least in one unspecified neighborhood sometime early this summer, and so far Google hasn't actually stated what types of products it will package with the new Internet connection.
In the Kansas application, Google reportedly said it will "utilize national and regional video headend facilities (programming collection points) to send IPTV (internet-based television) across a private (internet protocol) network to subscribers." The application was filed on Friday with both the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Last year news reports suggested that Google was in talks with Disney, Time Warner and Discovery about distributing their content. There were also claims that Google filed an application with the FCC to establish commercial-scale satellite dishes at a factory in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a place that already plays host to a Google data center. Like cable companies, these could be used as an "antenna farm" which capture video signals and transform them into channels for consumer use.
"The company has also been testing Wi-Fi transmitters from the home that could move data at the same gigabit speeds as its fiber optic cables - suggesting a holistic system for blanketing homes with Internet service 100 to 1,000 times quicker than the U.S. average," the paper reports.
There’s indication that Google's data center in Council Bluffs will become one giant DVR for those Kansas City residents subscribing to Google's TV service. The search engine giant is supposedly working to create a Cloud TV service, replacing DVRs and TiVo set top boxes. Google Fiber can make this happen, as its 1 GB/s speed will make retrieving all that stored video manageable as multiple televisions in hundreds of homes within a single neighborhood stream all that video at the same time.
"We could call this the 'YouTubization' of linear TV," said Bernstein Research in a report. "Expect Google to store (and make available to consumers) the content across all or most TV channels it will provide ... Storing the content of hundreds of TV channels for days, weeks or longer and serving them on-demand to individual users requires large amounts of storage and processing capacity. Of course, this is only possible if homes are connected to the cloud through very high-speed connections."
Would a Google TV service be a welcome addition to your town? For many consumers, an alternative could be a welcome sight, providing a local choice other than Time Warner, Comcast or whomever else is currently monopolizing the local area.