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.
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.
Which is exactly why the marketplace is lined with so many suitors – VUDU, TiVo, Yahoo! Connected TV, Netflix, Roku, Rovi, DivX, Apple TV, Xbox 360, Boxee, CinemaNow, Popbox, and many others – but no breakout leader consumers can ultimately rely on to access the spectrum of their multimedia needs. Growth for these companies remains uncertain: According to Frost & Sullivan research, unit sales remain minimal for the leading devices – 500,000 for Apple TV, 650,000 for Roku, for example.