Viacom Nixes Google TV Access, Web Streaming Options Dwindling



Add Viacom to the growing list of networks blocking access to online streaming content from Google TV. With News Corp, NBC Universal, Disney, and CBS already tuned out of Google’s TV interface that wants to change the way we watch the tube and we are left with only Time Warner and TBS offering any streaming content accessible via GTV. Google TV is now gimped out of the box, and it’s at no fault of the search giant and its hardware partners.

The latest block, which includes access to shows from Comedy Central, MTV, and more, highlights the alarming trend. What networks are so afraid of is hard to understand. After all, how different is accessing content from Google TV than from a PC? It really should be all the same to the networks, but I get the feeling the problem lies in the presentation itself. Google TV allows users to access streaming content on a television set, something that just doesn’t sit right with media conglomerates who equate the TV with a much different revenue stream than its online counterpart.

Here is hoping the media companies come to their senses, but it is looking worse and worse every day. It’s a real shame to see networks trying kill off Google TV before they even gave it a chance to prove itself.

[via CrunchGear]

Kevin Krause
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  1. I was really looking forward to getting my Google TV box; but with more and more providers restricting access, I am holding off to see what happens.

  2. “It’s at no fault of the search giant and its hardware partners”
    Maybe they should have asked if they wouldn’t get blocked before releasing it?

  3. Still don’t see the difference between the GTV and a laptop (or htpc) hooked up to the TV..
    I’ve got it at home and never move it.. It’s used just as a GTV..

  4. Someone needs to fight the content providers. they want to get paid where ever we watch the show. the deal is we are suppose to get free networks over the air. the content guys charge advertisers. If we want to have someone else grab the content over the air and give it to us it should be our right!!!

  5. I don’t understand how this is all legal? How can you put content up on a website, and then only allow certain ‘browsers’ to view it – sounds a little like browser profiling to me…

  6. Viacom just needs to DIE!!!

  7. It’s not that they are afraid of something. They just see this as a perfect opportunity to extort some googlemoney. Rotten are they.

  8. @Robbert: Do you work for Viacom? What do you get out of defending this move? Everyday people defending billionaires. Is it an American thing? I don’t understand it.

    The TV firms don’t care about TV shows. They only care about companies that buy advertising from them. Those are the ones actually holding up these deals.

  9. I agree with Thyg0d, just hook up your laptop to your tv and you’re set. I don’t understand the networks’ thinking, always backward

  10. i dont see any future for Google TV because my cable and PC offer alot more than Google TV.

  11. I like how the Google TV box over lays the web browser and Cable guide over the TV, I use it all the time to check the web and watch podcasts the picture in picture is good also. You can even listen to Pandora and watch TV at the same time through the device. For me it is better then connecting a laptop to the TV and having to change between sources. I am not too concerned about streaming network content.

  12. My understanding is that this is about the uncertainty over ad revenues. It’s not that Google TV strips out the ads and replaced by Google’s own. No, the problem is that Google TV makes watching web video on your TV easier.

    Yes, it’s the same content they offer on their web sites, but few people watch it on their TVs, except for geeks like us. And how many people really want to watch TV on their computer monitors? Not nearly as many people who would watch on their TVs if they could easily — which is where Google TV comes in.

    Television content on the web is like seating at McDonalds: It’s there but very uncomfortable. In this case, the networks are trying to manage people’s preferences.

  13. @Zi

    Yes but isnt it nice to not have to change source between cable and PC?

  14. I like how the Google TV box over lays the web browser and Cable guide over the TV, I use it all the time to check the web and watch podcasts the picture in picture is good also. You can even listen to Pandora and watch TV at the same time through the device. For me it is better then connecting a laptop to the TV and having to change between sources. I am not too concerned about streaming network content.

  15. The ONLY thing Google needs to do to fix this is open up the Android Market to the Google TV. There are tons of 3rd-party apps and browsers out there that would be more than happy to work around any stupid “blocks” the retards at networks have in place. Let these morons block their entire web content and see how people will like that.

    P.S. Can somebody please root the GTV already? k tks bye.

  16. I want one anyway. I don’t need to stream tv content and I’m on too slow of a connection for anything fatter than Pandora. Satellite for tv, network for…well, everything else.

  17. Google could just release GTV in the UK where all major networks have embraced on-line digital content for many years without these draconian methods.

    This might sound insane, but if the US networks want to be fools who are fighting innovation release the products into markets where you don’t have to fight these battles and then let the viewer heap pressure that they are getting a raw deal.

    At the end of the day the real reason the US TV networks are being like this is that they are a oligopoly who will refuse to give up any part of their power to a company that they have no control over.

    With the advent of GTV it allows new internet TV networks to be created, with their own unique content. This is the future model for small tv production companies who for years have been bent over by the major networks.

  18. I would love to get a bunch of people in a couple lawyers and go after the network companies for profiling and discrimination because Google TV is a computer using a different browser type than what you would use on a laptop, net-book or PC which all can be hooked up to a TV. I mean whats happens if I start mass marketing HTPC using a windows will they start banning windows?

  19. if these providers offer their tv shows for free on or then why won’t they let a television that uses a web browser access the same tv shows when you can see all this stuff for free in a web browser anyways !?!?!?!?!?!? SOMEONE PLEASE CLUE ME IN.

  20. Everyone wants something gor free. Here in the everyone has rights, from the billionaire to the impoverished. It is the networks content and they have
    the to distribute as they see fit. Good or bad It is their right.

    Anyone Is more than welcome to start their own network and distribute the content as they see fit.
    Pretty dtupid on Goggles part yo base part of their service on 3rd party content and not have this hammered out ahead of time.

    How about Google provides their own entertainment content for their service/device and not leech ?

  21. I second Derrick’s question…

    How/why is it legal to block web content from a specific device?

  22. sonofabitches.. Shakedown pile-up if you ask me.

  23. The networks are just trying to extort money out of Google, plain and simple. They should be embracing on-line streaming because it makes it damn near impossible to skip commercials. With every other family having a DVR, most don’t see commercials on cable or broadcast TV anymore. The idiots are just afraid of anything new.
    @BR – good point about the startup internet TV networks. It definitely would help make them more viable. That could be another reason for trying to torpedo Gtv.

  24. Instead of blocking progress these companies should try to work with Google to improve the experience.

    Otherwise they’re going to get left behind while the internet becomes the dominant medium for watching things. We’re already seeing it with movies, people would rather stream something than go rent it.

  25. Hail the almighty dollar. As more and more streaming options come available, the less they get in their pockets. They would rather nickle and dime the shit out of us!

  26. I do the same thing Thyg0d was talking about. I wrote about it on my website.

  27. This “blocked” content still works on Android phones, haha.

  28. Once the Google TV android will be open to the market probably there will be a simple fix to this. It’s how the browser authenticates itself, so it would be block them all (browsers) or block none.

  29. GOOGLE TV has just died, So glad I held off! 299.99 hefty price for now what it offers out of the box. Wow, if something doesn’t change, Best buy and retailers will be taking it off the shelves. just go buy Playon and you get everything flat rate of 59.99 lifetime one time fee! What a joke these money hungry corps are, now you know why apple TV never launched!

  30. Some of the comments on here are unbelievable. Advertising revenue pays for the shows you people are moaning about. Those ads pay for the actors, the scripts, the sets, and everything else that goes into creating a show. If you take out the profit, NOBODY WILL MAKE THE SHOWS. It’s really that simple. The quality of tv shows will be on par with that of your average youtube video. You can get that on GTV right now, so it’s kind of like you already have your way.

  31. The cable companies pay a very large premium to broadcast these shows. If it becomes too easy for mom and pop to bypass the cable companies, they will. The content providers will then lose a huge revenue stream. Of course they aren’t going to encourage that.

    Regardless, GoogleTV has been receiving awful reviews. The lack of content certainly does not bode well for the technology.

  32. Rich, if this is something that they don’t encouraged, how come every news anchor I’ve watched plugs the website at every opportunity? Seems to me that for probably more than one reason web traffic is a valuable thing to these networks. The interview went on too long to squeeze it onto our show but check the website for the full clip! A calamity in the making indeed … to see where you can get your swine flu shot tomorrow, check out our website! Would you have any objection to pedophiles and thieves and thieving pedophiles with some cheap radio shack equipment being able to camp outside your home and tune in on your baby cam monitor? Vote now on our website! Etc.

    How come Time Warner, which owns HBO and is a carrier/provider, seems not to have a problem with HBO getting friendly with Google TV?

    Can anyone explain why this might not be a collaborative shakedown?

  33. Brian, thanks for sharing your gift of clarity with all of us as it’s frustration always to come off as unbelievable to people like you.

    So you’re saying that traffic to networks’ websites is not an asset to the networks, but they made them anyway and plug them all the time for the hell of it? In fact because people are suddenly able thanks to Google go onto their websites and watch South Park episodes and cut the cord to their cable provider instead of watching television and seeing the television ads — if that’s an issue why would these full episode websites even exist? Who doesn’t have such a site for their network?

    As for the quality, common consumer broadband seems good enough for even 1080p somehow, at least on my setup. The Google TV doesn’t hijack the cable box you know and stuff everyone onto either Youtube or It lets you do, if you’re the average person, almost everything you’d otherwise have to get up from the couch to switch over to your computer to do. It even, when you type in Banged Up Abroad (or in your case Project Runway), will dig through your local listings and let you know that an episode’s about to start on NatGeo HD, click here — in addition to perhaps a wikipedia page or a youtube clip. Or you can have Google TV list all the comedy or drama shows currently playing and have it tune you right in, signalling your cable box with the appropriate infrared. Content discovery they call that.

    The one limitation I found in the browser is that I could not install Adblock as I can with Chrome on a PC.

    Contrary to what you may believe so strongly, you don’t know what you’re talking about, lose the attitude and stop using all caps.

  34. Doug,

    “So you’re saying that traffic to networks’ websites is not an asset to the networks”
    No. I never said that. But isn’t as big an asset as the ad dollars. When the networks feel they can make as much money on the internet, that’s what they will do. It’s not for some leech like yourself to demand they make the move now. I’d love to see what you’re asking for, but I certainly won’t take the attitude of entitlement some of you people have. Some day, when you move out of your parents basement (and in with your “partner”), you’ll learn the value of a dollar, and that those who make the dollars make the decisions in their best interests, not yours. The rest of the world is not your mommy and it owes you nothing.
    As for quality, I was speaking of production value, so your long-winded treatise on the technical aspects of the issue is irrelevant.
    Thanks for being so wrong in such a childish and snotty way.
    One last thing, I’ll use caps AS I SEE FIT. NOBODY takes orders from you in real life, and NOBODY will on the internet either.

  35. Just ran across this article using my Google TV! As Bart Simpson would say, The ironing is delicious! I started using the Logitech Revue with Google TV when it came out, but as a DISH customer/employee I’d heard about it before it’s actual release. I have to say that for what I use it for, I haven’t found these content blocks to be a problem. It works great with Netflix and I find that for anything I want to see as far as a television show that might be blocked by a networks website I’m able to find on there. I also use it to search out shows or upcoming stuff by certain actors or directors I enjoy, but I also use it as a full-on Internet browser. I check my email, do my banking, social networking and general surfing and link-diving…all of it, including posting this, from my couch in front a huge HDTV. I love it.

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