Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

Summary: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt remains fascinated by TV. When you dig a hole...

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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is talking TV again. Run screaming from your couch and remote.

Recall that Google has a fascination with TV. The search giant sees Android as a big TV player. Internet connected TVs will allow you to search and watch YouTube until you're content. When Google TV was about to launch in 2010, Schmidt marveled at how the company could bring the Internet to your TV.

Schmidt mistake No. 1. This PC as TV blunder has been made by countless technology companies. Microsoft tried it years ago with Web TV. A long line of companies followed. Apple tried the same thing to some extent, but wrapped it in an iTunes wrapper. Now Apple has a different version of Apple TV, but the story is the same. These tech guys just don't get that all we want to do is sit on our butts and watch TV. At least Apple's Steve Jobs got that TV is a wee bit different and a potential rat hole. Schmidt is still trying to force interactive TV and PC-like capability to consumers.

The beauty of TV is that it ISN'T interactive. I drool and the magic box in the living room brings me the TV. Hands down the pants like Al Bundy and a beer optional.

Over the weekend, Schmidt said that virtually all TV manufacturers will adopt Google TV, or maybe a competitor. Timeline: Five years.

Schmidt mistake No. 2. First, TV manufacturers have been torched by the first Google TV rev. Even players on the periphery were burned. Just ask Logitech. Meanwhile, it's unclear that TV manufacturers want to go Android. Why get sued like a smartphone maker when you're margins are a few points above nil anyway?

CNET's Greg Sandoval asks a simple question. Schmidt said this adoption of Google TV would occur within five years. That certainly is big talk, but is there anything to back it up?

Short answer: There's nothing to back Schmidt's rambling up. So what can Google do to get this TV thing right? Here are five suggestions as a public service---and to keep Schmidt from digging a larger TV hole.

  1. Stop making bold statements. Let's get real here: Few TV types really trust Google. These Hollywood execs want to control their digital destiny and are wary of Google and Apple gaining too much power. Schmidt yapping about how TVs will all have Google software doesn't exactly scream valued partner to content companies.
  2. Hide the engineers. Google has an engineering culture. The company thinks algorithms. Google is also left brain. TV is a right brain exercise. Jobs gets that reality, but hasn't quite figured out TV anyway.
  3. End the idea that TV manufacturers are the avenue to the living room. Google talks about Internet-connected TVs and wants Sony to stay as a partner. Why? Google just bought Motorola Mobility, which happens to split the set-top box market with Cisco. Schmidt should have said that Google TV will be on half the set-top boxes in America in five years. That statement is a no-brainer. Google bought Motorola and got Google TV distribution as a side benefit.
  4. Pay up. Schmidt said that he will work to get broadcast networks to change their minds about Google TV. TV networks have kept Google TV from integrating their Web content. As Sandoval noted, there's only one way Google will get networks to change---license content or challenge them in court. It's unclear that Google wants to get into Netflix-like content licensing. And Google has enough lawsuits---Android mostly---to worry about.
  5. Make TV a hobby. Google is trying too hard on the TV front. Schmidt talks and the company puts a TV in its collective mouth. Notice how Apple defused the pressure. TV is a hobby for Apple---at least until it makes its own TVs.

This five step recovery plan isn't brain surgery. Let's hope Schmidt takes us up on TV rehab.

See also:

Topics: Hardware, Google, Mobility

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68 comments
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  • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

    Until someone comes up with a way to surf the internet, or any websites or apps, without the need for a keyboard, mouse, or pointer (Kinect? Maybe, maybe not) then internet tv will nothing but a wet dream for tech companies. Websites are designed for point & click. Even mobile apps require some type of click function (touch, etc). Schmidt is a little off his rocker, I think.
    reklissrick
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @reklissrick <br><br>Internet TV failed before and will fail again with GoogleTV. The idea of sitting on ones sofa surfing the web (with keyboad and mouse pointer) on a TV across the room is just not practical. Especially when tablets like the iPad is taking off with Airplay capabilities that allow one to wirelessly stream/beam content to the TV instead, while allowing you to continue using the tablet for surfing, games etc.
      dave95.
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @reklissrick
      While Kinect's gesture detection opens real possibilities for replacing the mouse to navigate webpages, it'll be the improvements to voice recognition MS says are in the works that would really tip the usability scale. Especially if they take their voice macro program out of beta.
      brendan9
    • Google&acirc;??s Eric Schmidt along with a Stanford Computer Science professor Seba

      @reklissrick
      MingCao
  • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

    I personally like my Revue. Was cheap and is supposed to be upgraded shortly to Honeycomb (I'll believe that when I see it). It makes it easy to stream content from my Ubuntu/Twonky server to the TV, can watch all the old episodes of Star Trek easily on Amazon Prime, Netflicks works, ESPN3 works and the keyboard is light weight and kinda nice. Is it the greatest thing since sliced bread? No. Is it pretty nice for $99? Yep.
    txscott
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @rshol Its brilliant for $99. Its a disaster for $399. The mistake is expecting that consumers would pay $399 for something that, on the surface, seems little different than a $99 Roku. But at the same price as a Roku the bullet points on the Revue box add up. If Google were to buy Motorola as planned and put Android on all of the cable/satellite settop boxes then this whole TV fixation makes a hell of a lot more sense. All cable/sat settop box software I've ever seen is just awful. Embedding a full Android environment directly in all of those devices would brighten things up in wonderful ways. Those boxes already have USB, wireless, Ethernet, SATA, etc ports that are doing precisely nothing at all with the current firmware.
      cabdriverjim
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      A French philosopher said, "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" -- I feel that way about the Roku. But will agree with both of you that at $99 the Revue is an awesome value. Makes me think that this Internet TV idea has quite a bit of traction.
      jefmud
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @rshol

      I agree, the Revue is a definite buy at $99. Samsung is charging $500 more for a TV that streams Netflix versus the same TV which doesn't. Plus, since Netflix changed over to Silverlight on Windows, my HTPC is broken. Silverlight STILL lacks hardware acceleration, so no Netflix on my Atom on Windows.
      tkejlboom
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @rshol
      I couln't agree more. My whole family uses the Revue. Upgrade ? Sure - send it down the pipe - but I'm thrilled already.. Wacky me.... ; ) using a keyboard from my couch... imagine ! (using it now - just tore it from the hands of my 6 year old )
      mybunkaccount
  • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

    I love the Internet button on my Samsung Tv remote. I watch Netflix ,youtube, and many other channels via my Roku, Xbox and Wii. For companies like CNN, and NBC the prospect of being able to serve customers directly without going through the middle man has the cable companies running to capital hill. If I were Verizon I would be thinking, why not have Android running the Motorola Fios boxes?
    Schmidt is dead on.
    sharkboyjohn
  • &quot;The beauty of TV is that it ISN&acirc;??T interactive.&quot;

    You get it.
    Bruizer
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @Bruizer

      Says who?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_ZCJvcxWgQ
      timotim
      • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

        @timotim: That's starting to think outside the box but when are Microsoft going to actually release it?

        They've been yapping on about this for years and do I "have" to own Xbox/Kinect to use it? I don't have and neither want either of those.
        bradavon
      • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

        @timotim

        So according to Microsoft, our future consists of standing in front of our TVs with our hand constantly extended interacting with the Kinects UI? Locking our arm in an upright position for a whole 5 seconds each time we want to make a selection? Better be sure to have great insurance. :-/
        dave95.
      • How bout this fall?

        Is that soon enough for you?
        timotim
      • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

        @dave95<br><br>...or you can sit down your comfy sofa and simply use your voice...though the choice is up to you in the end. Hell, you can even use a gamepad or a media remote in conjunction with your voice. Now compare that with the other guys like GTV which they actually demo lots of times with a clunky full sized blue tooth keyboard with a touch pad on it, or ATV that doesn't allow live TV at all. You make the call my friend...I know which method ill be using in a few months.<br><br>I can go from online matches of Halo to Live TV just by using my voice...what could be better.
        timotim
      • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

        @timotim Says who? I didn't check out your link but apparently based on sales the average consumer is who. Will we get to a time when everyone wants interactive TV? I am sure we will but it's either not now or at least not with what is available now. For us more gadget or tech happy it's great but the general consumer market has spoke with their wallets and resoundingly said not for me.
        non-biased
  • I see Schmidt's problem - There was a time

    when Google could say"we're going to make such and such" and manufactures would line up to incorporate it.

    Those times have passed, but Schmidt, not being the CEO anymore, probally didn't get the memo saying as much.
    William Farrell
    • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

      @William Farrell Ouch
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • RE: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

    I think this market hasn't taken off because the industry players (Google, Apple, etc) have the right idea but they have no clue on how to make it user friendly and aesthetically appealing for end users (basically the right brain/left brain thing Larry said in the article). I LOVE XBMC and I think its the closest thing out there that's heading in the right direction.

    The problems are the user interface and content providers. They need to make the interface easy, slick and feature-rich. Steve Jobs does this best so lets hope he still consults for the AppleTV project so others can emulate his genius as usual.

    Content providers need to modernize the way they distribute and charge for their content. In my opinion, they need to turn every channel into an "app" of sorts. Why cant I buy the HBO app that will stream live HBO content (commercials and all) to me and all i have to do is download the app which will subscribe me to a monthly fee for HBO. With that subscription, i should be able to watch it on all my android devices including my internet connected TV.

    I "cut the cord" about a year ago. I got tired of having over 100 channels and nothing good to watch. I was tired up paying outrageous prices for "packages" in which i was only interested in one station from. I like it a lot better except its difficult to navigate from one place to another to watch what you want (going from Hulu to NetFlix to CNN, etc).

    I'm sure all of this is easier said than done, but a man can dream can't he?
    RamEliC