With Google TV, Google hoped to make a push into its users’ living rooms. It’s launch in October 2011, though, was marred by an overcomplicated interface and a lack of content, as the TV networks and companies like Hulu quickly barred Google TV users from accessing their sites. Now, just about a year later, Google is giving it another try
For cable and satellite TV providers, the second quarter of 2011 was the single worst quarter in history. They lost more subscribers than ever before and competitive pressure also meant that they had to offer more and more freebies to win subscribers. Overall, Reuters reports, the U.S. pay-TV sector lost 380,000 subscribers last quarter. In the same quarter a year ago, the TV providers lost 160,000. Things are even worse for satellite TV providers, as both Dish and DirecTV reported their “first-ever quarter of combined losses of 109,000 subscribers.”
According to the latest estimates from Nielsen, TV ownership in the U.S. dropped from 98.9% to 96.7% over the last year. This is the first time these numbers have dropped since 1990. According to Nielsen, there are two reasons for this drop: 1) lower-income, rural households were not able to afford the necessary equipment for making the transition from analog to digital over-the-air TV and 2) as TV content becomes available on multiple devices, “a small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions.”
Cord cutting, that is cancelling your cable or satellite contract in favor of going Internet TV-only, isn’t as hard as it sounds. Chances are, unless you are a real TV addict, you can easily live without cable these days and switch over to an affordable set-top box from Roku or Boxee with a subscription to Hulu Plus and Netflix.
The Internet is slowly making its way into our living rooms. Even if your TV itself isn’t directly connected to the Net, chances are there is a game console, Blu-ray player, Apple TV or Roku box attached to it that can bring streaming video from services like Netflix, Hulu Vudu or iTunes directly to your TV. Indeed, according to research firm SNL Kagan (as reported by USA Today), 14% of TVs are now connected to the Internet in some form or another. SNL Kagan expects this number to climb up to 38% in 2014.