Sony Reads The Google TV Tea Leaves: Not Much Flavor In The Cup

From the no-surprise department: Sony has cut prices for its newfangled Google TV units, up to a massive 25% off certain models.

This is no surprise because Google TV has been unable to secure the highest-profile content out there -- broadcast network prime-time shows. The big four networks have blocked Google from using its content on the new service to be run -- so far -- on Sony television sets.

Timing is everything. It 's only the day after Cyber Monday. But apparently this was enough time for Sony to figure out that a $1,200 consumer product without big-name TV brands -- even with network TV ratings sliding -- isn't enough to convince those new, aggressive media consumers this is the next big thing. It has been reported the price of a 46-inch Google TV is now $1,000.



With its Walkman, Sony was a magic brand name when mobile music was just starting out. This changed quickly with the launch of the Apple iPod. Sony wants to regain some of that panache with one of its still-best-known remaining products -- television sets -- spun off now into holy grail land of Internet-connected TVs.

Seemed like a good idea. But consumers are quicker to figure out what new technology is capable of -- and its limitations. You can't blame Sony. Even consumer research notes that Internet-connected TVs seem like the next big thing -- and a better near-term bet than 3D TVs. While 3D may seem to elicit better quality, consumers already get this quality feeling from plain-old HDTVs. Internet options just add to that value.

The better question: How did Google blow it?

How do you start up a product where its biggest piece -- the stuff that runs on the screen -- can't be delivered? Right now, Google has been shut out with what seems like a massive misfire.

Maybe company strategists thought the networks would have to come around -- because, after all "We're the powerful Google and all your consumers know Google."

Obviously, the brand names of Google -- and even Sony -- aren't enough. Consumers, however, would have come running for a name that's quite a mouthful: the "ABC-Fox-NBC-CBS" Internet-connected TV set.

2 comments about "Sony Reads The Google TV Tea Leaves: Not Much Flavor In The Cup".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, November 30, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

    Google should have seeded another company to take the risk, someone with a different name (because people tend to distrust big companies), and then sweep in and buy that company and re-brand. And it wouldn't have hurt to offer the disaffected networks some ownership position or upfront payment.

  2. Chris Nielsen from Domain Incubation, November 30, 2010 at 3:05 p.m.

    I'm interested in Google TV. Even if they just make it easier to work with YouTube videos, that would be a big plus. Maybe I'm just over 50, but YouTube is not nearly friendly enough or feature-rich enough for me to spend much time there. I get sick of video-surfing pretty quick. But make all of that content available on my TV so I can watch it the way I want, and two things will happen: 1) I will spend more time watching videos, and 2) I will have music videos playing while I work.

    Once Google has the users, the networks will have to notice. But one big problem is that Google has done a crap job of marketing the product to end users. If my wife doesn't know about it, then it may as well not exist which I think explains GTV's current status.

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