I don't have Google TV yet, I'm waiting for ARM Powered version of it, and they haven't yet released it world wide. But I like to speculate about how it works as I am sure Google TV will revolutionize TV, and the Trillion-dollar/year TV industry.
The probable technical reason TV networks are able to currently block Google TV from accessing their online web tv offerings is probably flash.
The Chrome browser in Google TV can be set to User Agent: Generic (by default though it is set as User Agent: Google TV), thus making it impossible for websites to detect that the user visiting the website is using a set-top-box or a computer/laptop/tablet or other device.
The probable only way for them to detect the set-top-box, can only be the flash plugin. As Adobe probably doesn't want to irritate the TV networks, due to them all using Flash, they probably also don't want to allow Google to switch over the flash player in Google TV to User Agent: Generic.
Google probably also prefers to try as hard as possible to make some deals with the content providers instead of forcing Adobe into setting up Flash to be undetectable. As Google wants all these content partners also to allow their content be distributed on YouTube.
In any ways, if Google and the TV Networks don't reach an agreement soon, I am sure Google will eventually ask Adobe to provide Flash in a totally undetectable fashion. And if that happens, the TV networks will only be able to decide if they want to have any "legal" streaming of their shows online or none at all. And if they decide to remove online flash streaming, the most popular application on Google TV boxes will most likely then be BitTorrent.
- Vizio and Toshiba reportedly to announce Google TV sets at CES [TNW Google] (thenextweb.com)
- Viacom Blocks Google TV Users (adweek.com)
- Viacom is the latest network to block Google TV (geek.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (gigaom.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (nytimes.com)
- Fox to Block Google TV: Now Every Major US TV Network Blocking Google TV (crenk.com)
- Viacom blocks Google TV, the madness continues (venturebeat.com)
- Comedy Central, MTV now blocking Google TV (news.cnet.com)