"We have an exclusive agreement for a short period of time to seed the marketplace," Dish EVP Michael Kelly acknowledged at an event here Wednesday where Logitech Ltd. unveiled a Google TV set-top, wireless keyboards, and a "TV Cam" videophone that will enable subscribers to use TVs as a display for video phone calls.
Dish is the first TV service provider to support a "pairing protocol" that enables features such as DVR search. Dish will likely hold onto this de facto exclusivity until another develops the technology. Dish, however, does have an exclusive marketing deal with Logitech whereby it can offer the Logitech device (called the "Revue") for a US$179 promotional price.
Logitech’s Google TV receiver, which sells for $299 at retail, will be able connect to set-tops from Dish Network and other pay-TV providers via a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connection, and allow users to integrate TV listings from their local pay-TV provider with Google TV. But only customers of Dish Network will be able to access content from their DVRs when Google TV launches, Logitech executives said.
Dish also expects to embed Google TV in its own DVRs, and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) plans to ship Google TV-ready HDTVs. Google and Logitech have yet to announce any other deals with pay-TV providers for the new platform.
Earlier this week, Google announced it had struck deals to offer video from HBO and networks from Turner Broadcasting System Inc. via Google TV. The platform, which integrates Internet video content and Web-based search with live TV, also counts partners such as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), and Pandora Media Inc. . (See HBO Is GO for Google TV
Google TV won’t feature any content from Hulu LLC , since the popular Web video hub has blocked access to its site, Logitech EVP of products Junien Labrousse told reporters Wednesday. But Google and Hulu executives are in talks, he added. (See Hulu Opens Toll Road and Hillcrest: Hulu
At Wednesday's event, Logitech executives demonstrated how Google TV can allow users to push content from Android-based smartphones from YouTube Inc. to a TV. Google TV users will also be able to use an iPhone, iPad, and Android phone as a remote control for Google TV.
Verizon and other providers also allow users to use smartphones as a remote control for their pay TV platforms.
Logitech also showed how Google TV users can use mobile devices to conduct voice searches for TV shows and movies.
Also worth noting from the Google TV briefing:
- Amazon, Best Buy Inc., and Logitech began taking orders today for the Logitech Revue receiver and wireless keyboard, which retails for $299.99. A "mini controller," which offers the same functions as the wireless keyboard, costs $129.99. The Logitech TV Cam will retail for $149.99.
- While Logitech and Google executives emphasized that Google TV is designed to be integrated with cable and satellite platforms, they said it could be connected directly to a TV through an HDMI connection.
- Google TV won’t enable multi-room DVR functionality. "First things first," Labrousse said.
- On a privacy note, while Google will track which programs its users watch, and allow users to track their favorite programs, it will allow users to delete their channel surfing history, or turn off the function completely.
— Steve Donohue, Special to