Networks To Google TV: Talk To The Hand

TV is changing for better or worse. And perhaps sensing that their control over audiences and distribution is further slipping away and that their expensive programming is being reduced to mere “content,” the major broadcast networks are blocking access from Google TV.

According to a story this afternoon in the Wall Street Journal:

Full-length episodes of shows like NBC’s “The Office,” CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and ABC’s “Modern Family” can’t be viewed on Google TV . . .

Spokespeople for the three networks confirmed that they are blocking the episodes on their websites from playing on Google TV, although both ABC and NBC allow promotional clips to work using the service . . .

Some shows—from siblings of the networks that are blocking their content—were working on Google TV on Thursday. Shows from the CW network, which is jointly owned by CBS and Time Warner, appear to play on Google TV, as do some from Lifetime, a cable channel jointly owned by Walt Disney Co., Hearst Inc., and NBC Universal.

While the dispute with the networks will likely be resolved, the potential inability to access large swaths of TV programming could become a deterrent for some would-be buyers of Google TV hardware (from Sony or Logitech). The emerging Google TV-networks dispute may be not unlike the conflict between Fox and Cablevision (in the New York area). Those two companies have fought bitterly over fees that Fox wants from the cable provider to carry its shows.

Beyond missing programs, a confusing or frustrating user experience could equally be a problem for Google TV. Danny details his challenges with the system in a lengthy post.

Postscript: See our A Tour Of How Networks Have Blocked Google TV for more about the blocking, as seen through the “eyes” of Google TV.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Google: TV

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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