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Google eyes pay television - report

Nov 04 2011 08:22 AFP

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San Francisco - Google is thinking of getting into the pay television business as modern lifestyles increasingly turn to the internet for entertainment, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The Journal cited unnamed sources as disclosing that Google is considering adding cable-style television programming as well as telephone features to a high-speed Internet project in Kansas City, Missouri.

Google has discussed the idea with major television firms but no deals have been made, according to the Journal.

The company declined to comment on what it referred to as speculation.

The unconfirmed news came as Google set out to breathe new life into its moribund internet television platform with the roll-out of second-generation Google TV software.

Google is among technology firms betting that the future of home entertainment is films, television shows and other video content streamed on demand over the internet.

The California Internet titan last year launched Google TV, which is powered by Android software and Chrome Web browser and can be accessed using Sony TVs or set-top boxes from Logitech that route Web content to existing television sets.

Sony and Logitech have both slashed prices on Google TV offerings in the face of disappointing sales.

Updated Google TV software seeks to make it easier and more intuitive for viewers to find online video.

"The internet marks a new chapter for television," Google said in a blog post.

"This chapter is not about replacing broadcast or cable TV; it's not about replicating what's on TV to the Web.

"It's about bringing millions of new channels to your TV from the next generation of creators, application developers and networks."

Google owned online video venue YouTube is adding about 100 channels of original programming to the globally popular online venue for video sharing.

YouTube's dive into original content includes deals with celebrity partners such as pop music star Madonna and actor Ashton Kutcher.

"Even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube's existing channel lineup," YouTube global head of content partnerships Robert Kyncl said in a blog post last week.

Google reportedly laid out more than $100m to establish the partnerships, which come as it tries to become a preferred source of content for Internet-linked televisions.

"These channels will have something for everyone, whether you're a mom, a comedy fan, a sports nut, a music lover or a pop-culture maven," Kyncl said.

The first of the original channels will appear on YouTube this month with more added through the coming year.

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