Google TV: We’re Not Replacing Cable

Unlike many speakers at GigaOM’s NewTeeVee conference Wednesday, Google TV product lead Rishi Chandra did not take the stage to showcase his company’s latest technology. Many in the television industry–broadcasters, content providers, advertisers–are wary of Google’s arrival in the business, but Chandra spent his talk soothing them, arguing the product is nothing more than a TV supplement.

“Our goal is not to replace cable,” he began. Rather, Google TV plans to deliver “incremental” content–that is, access to video-on-demand through Amazon, subscription services such as Netflix, and mounds of media via YouTube. “What we’re trying to do is take all that great cable content today, and bring in the millions of channels on the Web,” Chandra said.

Chandra also spent time assuring the audience this was not an “overnight” change, though he agreed Google TV would help accelerate the process. “Cord cutting is not happening anytime soon,” he said, before again adding, “We want to take al that great cable content–and extend it.”

Still, Chandra was clear: The current television experience is “limited,” and Google wants to change that. He discussed how Google search would help “rethink content discovery,” and that while the archetypal TV guide might make sense for today’s cable boxes, “it doesn’t work when you go from 300 channels to one million channels.”

That idea might scare broadcasters and traditional content providers, who would probably want to avoid getting lost in the void of the Web’s endless media production. When moderator Janko Roettgers asked whether Google felt it had to “play nice with broadcasters” before finding success, Chandra was quick to agree.

“We need the industry to adopt this platform,” he said.AC