Google, Intel and Sony are reported to have teamed up to develop a new breed of web-enabled TVs and set-top boxes running Google's Android platform.According to a New York Times report, which cited people familiar with the matter, the three firms have been working together for several months on the project.Google declined to confirm or deny the reports, saying, "We don't comment on rumour or speculation".However, Google is already involved in the TV space with projects such as YouTube XL, which allows videos to be watched on screens of all sizes, and TV Ads, an all-digital system for buying TV advertising that uses its AdWords interface for its metrics.Adding weight to the rumours, Intel has listed recruitment ads for several software application engineers on its web site that reference a move from PCs to TV screens."The goal of this position [software application engineer] is to extend Intel IA [information architecture] computing power and IA ecosystem from PC screen to mobile screen and TV screen," the ad reads.A spokesman for Intel said, "We don't comment on rumour or speculation and more specifically we don’t have a comment on this news."However, he said that Intel remained open to providing the technology on which systems such as those rumoured to be in development could run."We’re working with a number of companies and have openly discussed our plans to deliver SoC's [system on a chip] based on the Intel Atom processor core as a platform for intelligent devices everywhere, including connected TVs," he said. A spokeswoman for Sony said she was unfamiliar with the matter.The move into the TV space would be a logical step for Google, according to Mike Grant, a partner at Analysys Mason."Google's entry into this space is no surprise at all. We are seeing that there is a broad move in the industry to provide content across all platforms, such as on mobile, desktop and tablets and so a move to the TV space makes perfect sense," he said.Grant added that there was "no question" that other companies would look to make similar moves and partnerships in this sector as firms seeks to derive new sources of advertising revenues."No one is entirely sure how consumers will react to internet services on their TVs, but it is an area many firms are moving into, as we saw last year with the deal between Yahoo, Samsung and LG," he said.However, Grant warned that many advertising agencies, broadcasters and manufacturers are growing increasingly worried about Google's pervasive presence in all areas of digital content and that this could impact on the general public."The issue for consumers is that the growing move to advertising-funded models and away from any form of paid-for content reduces the amount of money available for the creation of new films or TV shows," he added.Logitech is also reported to be involved with the development of peripheral devices for the project, but the firm said it would not confirm or deny the rumours.
Issue: 324 | February 2014
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