Google has completed the acquisition of digital video company SageTV, reviving talk of the Internet giant’s next move in the world of online TV.
While Google’s plans for the digital video recorder (DVR) and streaming video company are not yet clear, a spokesperson for the company said the partnership would take SageTV “to the next level.”
Goal: Expand Google TV
The deal is a move to expand Google’s previous digital television offering, Google TV, which provides customers with access to television and Internet channels on their household TV through websites including Google-owned YouTube.
Google TV made an underwhelming impact on the digital TV world, not only with customers and developers, but also business partners and TV manufacturers. Financial figures spoke for themselves, with Google TV-based sales from PC input device leader Logitech falling from $22 million in Q3 of last year to just $5 million in the last quarter.
While tech pundits knew it was only a matter of time before Google ramped up its digital TV campaign, buying the Inglewood, California-based company was not exactly the expected move. But with just a look at the company profile, it all makes sense.
SageTV is an established set-top box player and a leader in the development of media management software and hardware. By integrating SageTV’s software, Google would instantly plug many holes in its current feature line-up.
DVR was one of the most notable features absent from the Google TV offer. SageTV’s Placeshifter allows users to watch live or recorded TV through wireless or LAN connections within home networks or on any Windows, Linux or Mac computer connected to the Internet.
Placeshifter offers similar features to products from the well-known Sling Media, who is creating a version of its SlingPlayer for Google TV. SageTV’s technology would allow Google to sidestep external companies and develop its own live and recorded digital TV software.
Google and SageTV are also aligned on their open technology strategy, with both companies envisioning a user-unique living-room experience with endless possibilities of third party add-ons.
SageTV announced on its website: “We've seen how Google's developer efforts are designed to stimulate innovation across the web, and as developers have played a core role in the success of SageTV, we think our shared vision for open technology will help us advance the online entertainment experience."
Google rival Yahoo has also been looking to take a front spot in the digital TV world. In recent weeks, it was reported to have initiated buyout discussions with online TV provider Hulu, though it was not clear if Hulu was interested.
In April Yahoo also acquired IntoNow, a start-up company that makes an application that uses a PC or handheld device’s microphone to “listen to” TV shows or movies. The app then references the sound clips with a database to identify the video.
The IntoNow app is currently available on iPhone and iPad, and is targeting Android and other open-source platforms.
Key Facts – Global IPTV Market (source: RNCOS research)
- By 2014, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) subscribers worldwide will number around 109 million.
- Between 2011 and 2014, the number of IPTV subscribers will expand at a rate of around 25% per year.
- Europe is forecast to remain the largest IPTV market in the world.
- Asia-Pacific is expected to take over as the largest market in the coming years.
- The US market is expected to become the most competitive, mainly because of the high degree of pay-TV penetration and competition.
- In 2010, more than 40% of web-connected households regularly watched TV on PCs (source: WorldTVPC.com).