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Cable, MIPS missing in GoogleTV picture

May 21, 2010 // Rick Merritt

Cable, MIPS missing in GoogleTV picture

Two big pieces were missing when Google rolled out its picture of the future of integrated Web and TV services at Google I/O Thursday—cable TV providers who deliver most of the broadcast content and MIPS Technologies that powers many of the sets.

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Google announced a partnership with satellite TV provider Echostar, but no other service providers at this point. "They dont have a broadband cable TV partner and thats the weak underbelly of this so far," said Richard Doherty, principal of market watcher Envisioneering (Seaford, NY).

Given competing advertising models, cable operators are not likely to back the Google initiative anytime soon, potentially cutting the Google service out of the brunt of its market.

"Cable operators provide half the world and two thirds of Americans with TV, and I dont know of a cable operator who would want to work with them," said Doherty. "I was at the Cable Show [the cable TV annual event] last week and Google TV did not come up once though I am sure everyone knew about it," he said.

The GoogleTV roll out echoed another big industry event that brought together giants, but eventually fell flat. "It reminds me of General Magic a few years agoit's not a complete solution yet," said Doherty of the mobile systems startup.

Software developers in the audience at Google I/O where the initiative was launched may take offense that Google is not releasing a GoogleTV developer's kit until after Sony and Logitech ship their first systems. Giving those companies an opportunity to have a market-making exclusive is, in a way, a small sign of a lack of the openness Google touted at the event.

On the processor side, Intel's Atom based SoCs are apparently the only chip currently available to run Google TV. However that is expected to change eventually. Google said it will make its software available as open source code in the summer of 2011.

Sony and Logitech are building the initial GoogleTV systems using Intel's CE4100 chip, aka Sodaville, an SoC with an Atom core. A port of the code to MIPS processors which power many of today's TVs is apparently not yet available.
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