Google TV seeks FCC regulation to start a WebTV revolution

Posted by Charbax – February 10, 2011

Google may or may not soon be allowed to add Hulu Plus to its Google TV boxes, which may provide the Google TV boxes access to most of the TV shows and other content that currently is being blocked on Google TV by US TV Networks such as Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC and Viacom. Why would they want to block Google TV? Cause it's the trojan horse that disrupts TV from within, once consumers are only one click away from any YouTube video, only one click away from all VOD, legal or illegal, once this is easy to use and available for all in a sub-$100 cheap ARM Powered Google TV box, this is when those 5-hours per day people watch TV start spending more and more of that time watching content that is not owned or controlled by these networks.

At the same time, something awesome is going on with Google and Sony vs Cable Networks and the Movie industry at the FCC. Arstechnica published this awesome article explaining how Google and Sony are supporting an FCC regulation called the AllVid system.

The trade association is trying to set limits on how easy it will be for devices like Google TV to access pay TV content and reassemble it into something that will reconfigure both television and the Internet.

That's at the heart of the FCC's proposal for an AllVid system, which Google very loudly supports. AllVid doesn't exist yet, but the idea is to mandate an industry-wide gadget that you could plug into your broadband router and connect to your cable TV provider, then watch online video and pay channels through a variety of AllVid-friendly devices. Not surprisingly, Google and Sony love this idea, because it could transform the Google TV from just a neat product into a revolution.

Big cable hates the proposal, because that revolution could leave multi-video program distributors (MVPDs), if not in the dust, at least working in a far more competitive video environment.

Basically, what this could mean, is that content would be separated from technology. Content owners won't be able to make exclusive streaming partnerships with one set-top-box maker and not be available on the other. What this means, is that Hulu and Netflix must be available on all devices and that there will be a standard user interface to access all those on-demand and streaming contents.

This probably also means that all of those TV Networks in the USA who are streaming their TV shows for free using ads from their websites, would have to provide all that content to all devices through standardized user interfaces. None of these content providers can choose to block any device from accessing any content, and the advertising and pay-per-view models will thus be standardized.

Big cable insists that the metadata used to create on-screen program guides is copyrighted. The Motion Picture Association of America protests that the AllVid idea would put studio content painfully close to sites like The Pirate Bay.

Program guides should not be copyrighted, that is ridiculous. Anyone should be allowed to list what is going to be on TV at any given time. And anyone should be allowed to list movie titles, directors, actors, plot and even display a poster for each of those contents.

The MPAA is correct, this will mean that pirated content will also just be one click away, but that will force content owners to allow for seamless access to all the contents either for free with ads or at very reasonable cost as pay-per-view. And this will also enable the next step for Government regulation, that is to standardize the all-you-can-eat subscription model so that one Global Licence cover the legal and free access to all contents.