Google Drops Another Video Hint

2:10 PM -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s 1Gbit/s fiber-to-the-home experiment in the Kansas Cities will test an array of bandwidth-gobbling applications, and video will surely be among them. But is Google Fiber also teeing up a pay-TV service to compete with incumbent cable operator Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and the satellite guys?

It's becoming increasingly clear the answer is yes. Google's already obtained the OK from state regulators to build a video service in Missouri, and it has applied for video franchises in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. And then there's that satellite farm that Google's developing in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (See Google Gets OK for Video Over Fiber.)

But, among more recent evidence, Engadget noticed that the Android creator has slipped an IP set-top box to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a look-see. According to the test report, the hi-def-capable IPTV box, made by Humax Co. Ltd. and called the GFHD100, packs in Wi-Fi and USB, Ethernet and HDMI ports. And, for good measure, it comes affixed with a Google Fiber sticker.

Google hasn't made any formal commitments to launch a pay-TV service, but the emergence of the Humax box will certainly stir up speculation that Google's got something cooking.

"We're still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber in Kansas City, and we have nothing to announce at this time," Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres noted in response to questions about the Humax device.

Google's network buildout has encountered some delays along the way, but fiber's already being strung ahead of a launch that could happen in the second half of the year. (See Google Fiber Goes 100 Miles & Counting , Google Calls KC Fiber-Ready and Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag .)

But Google's not committing to the timing on the launch either. "We'll have an announcement about Google Fiber later this summer. We're very much in the middle of the construction phase," Wandres added.

If Humax's boxes don't work out for some reason, Google's got a pretty convenient second source for that equipment (along with video encoders and other video access gear) now, following its recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility. (See Google Closes $12.5B Motorola Deal .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:31:00 PM
re: Google Drops Another Video Hint

Is Google Fiber actually the consumer brand name for the service? I assume it's just a project title at this point. Sounds like the name of a bran cereal. Have you had your Google Fiber today? 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:30:59 PM
re: Google Drops Another Video Hint

I suppose we'll know more when they launch service, if they'll stick with this Google Fiber brand... but I think they will.  I asked Google if they could shed more light on the open access end of their network, and they aren't ready to get into that, noting that the initial focus will be on providing a residential service from Google.  As for the Google Fiber brand, they have a logo for it anyway... Here's what was affixed to that Humax box that's making it through the FCC:


<img alt="" height="262" src="http://www.dslreports.com/r0/download/2007782~f50a259bb22fb6af1c6a879a5635486c/gfhd100-fcc-label.jpg" width="345">

steve q 12/5/2012 | 5:30:57 PM
re: Google Drops Another Video Hint

Hi have to say that Verizon Fios should look into the new google ont as a better way to service the customer. It will just move them ahead of the cable company in the use of the docsis service.

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