Google TV tipped for imminent UK launch
Google is set to launch its TV platform in the UK, according to reports.
Executive chairman Eric Schmidt is set to give the MacTaggart lecture – usually reserved for bosses from the BBC or ITV – at the Edinburgh International TV Festival this evening, and is expected to use the speech to plug the Google TV platform, according to reports.
The service provides on-demand programming over the web, as well as access to apps.
Google TV was launched in the US last year, and was always expected to be extended to other regions, but an announcement would complicate the media landscape in the UK, with Google tapping into its YouTube content, which includes programmes from Channel 4 and a smattering from the BBC archives.
“There are concerns among broadcasters and content providers on a number of issues,” Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis told The Financial Times. “The bottom line is it’s about control… the potential impact on their business models and the commoditisation of their content.”
Without content, Google may struggle to compete with other players in the living room, including Virgin Media and Sky, which also offer flexible viewing.
However, whether Google will find willing partners in the UK remains to be seen, after sales in the US proved hugely disappointing for set-top box manufacturers.
In its results announcement last month, Logitech admitted it was seeing more returns than sales of its Google TV set-up box, with a price cut costing the company $34 million.
Google would not comment on the launch speculation when we asked for confirmation.