Google TV Product Lead: “We’re Not Trying To Replace Cable”

Google TV PM Rishi Chandra took the stage today to talk about Google’s recent Google TV efforts to integrate television and Internet browsing. Google TV has recently become the subject of much debate as networks like NBC, CBS and ABC have all pulled their content from the service. Cable companies are also viewing Google TV as a threat, as they are increasingly concerned with cord-cutting (a huge buzzword at this conference), or people canceling their cable subscriptions because they can find the content for free elsewhere.

“Cord-cutting is not happening anytime soon,” said Chandra, “We’re not trying to replace cable.” When asked by the interviewer the blunt, “Well then why don’t broadcasters like you?” Chandra replied,“There are very many content owners who welcome Google TV, we are building a variety of different partnerships. It’s not TV or web, it’s TV and web.”

The talk was tinged with similar signs of appeasement towards content providers and partners like Best Buy, Sony, and Intel, with Rishi repeatedly emphasizing the business models currently supported by Google TV including subscription, Netflix and HBO.

When asked why we need search on television, Chandra replied, “There’s a new paradigm when you go from 300 channels to a million channels.” As an example he brought up the product YouTube LeanBack on Google TV, “You can now type in Elmo, type in LeBron James and get your own personalized channel.”

While it’s still not clear whether Google TV, which absolutely needs the cooperation of media companies to thrive, will manage to bring the two worlds of Internet and television together seamlessly, but Rishi says the potential is there and that’s what matters, “This is very early days, in terms of where Google TV is and where the platform is at.”

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