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Google TV's challenge: convincing US on convergence

Intel, Google, and Sony have teamed to create a Google TV set-top device, but agreeing on a standard and attracting content are daunting tasks.

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The Google sign outside headquarters in Mountain View. Google has partnered with Intel and Sony to bring consumers a set-top device called Google TV, but agreeing on a standard and content may take some time.

Stephen Hird/Reuter/FILE

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Google’s partnership with Sony and Intel is the most significant step the Internet giant has made in its quest to dictate how we will consume television in the future.

Speculation surrounding the joint venture is that all three companies are working to create a device that enables users to navigate Internet fare via television sets as well as integrate it with set-top peripherals like Blu-ray players and cable boxes.

However in doing so, Google is entering a crowded field of competitors all trying to do the same thing. The American household is already cluttered with devices that stream and broadcast all kinds of content, but the public has yet to embrace a single device that makes everything accessible at one time.

“It’s extremely fragmented,” says Dan Rayburn, the principal analyst covering online video and TV for Frost & Sullivan, a global research firm. “I don’t believe everything will ever be on one device.”

Mr. Rayburn says the difficulty is standardization among the players involved: media companies, software developers, Internet content providers, hardware manufacturers, and technology empires are all pushing for dominance but won’t allow their products to work with each other in the open marketplace.

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