Google has confirmed that the Google TV connected television platform will be launched in the UK in early 2012. Google TV, which has enjoyed a less than stellar start since the US launch in October 2010, provides subscription and free on-demand content through set-top boxes and branded TV sets.
Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt officially announced the European invasion “within the next six months” during a speech at the Edinburgh International Television festival, confirming earlier rumours.
The UK platform, which Google says is “priority”, is sure to feature free on-demand portals like the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, with a host of other services likely to be confirmed before the service launches.
Schmidt says that he hopes the platform, which also bring a full web browsing experience to your TV set, will enable traditional broadcasters to experiment with the newer on-demand medium.
“Some in the US feared we aimed to compete with broadcasters or content creators. Actually our intent is the opposite,” he said during his MacTaggart keynote speech.
“We seek to support the content industry by providing an open platform for the next generation of TV to evolve, the same way Android is an open platform for the next generation of mobile.
“We’re agnostic when it comes to whether free or paid content models are best,” he added. “It’s up to content owners to decide if they want to charge, and it’s up to users to decide if they want to pay.”
The service has widely been regarded as a flop since the promising US launch (check out our Google TV review), mainly due to a lack of content and a heavily-criticised user interface.
Logitech, the exclusive provider of the Revue set top box, recently slashed the price to just $99 (from $299) in order to get more viewers on board.
Sales of the licensed Sony Internet TVs, with Google TV built-in, have also been poor. Google will be hoping its European expansion will be more successful.
On UK shores it’ll have the likes of the long-delayed YouView service plus existing on-demand portals from Sky, Virgin and BT Vision to compete with.