What Rishi Chandra Learned At Google TV

The price of cable TV continues to grow. Better online video content and streaming devices have spawned cord-cutters. What do these movements mean for the future of TV? Disrupters and cable insiders talk to David Zax.

What Rishi Chandra Learned At Google TV
Photo by Gabriela Hasbun

Rishi Chandra

Director of Product Management, Google TV
Preloaded in certain smart TVs (like the LG G2 series) or available as a separate device, Google TV is a platform that allows users to navigate both online video and a cable or satellite TV package. Chandra (in red) and team continue to tweak user experience, which debuted to mixed reviews in 2010.


The Adapters

“At first, users thought the overall experience was too complicated. We narrowed it down to an application model, where if you want YouTube, you just open up the YouTube application. We also made sure the experience you got on your TV felt like a TV experience. So when you’re flipping between YouTube channels, it feels as simple and fast as flipping between TV channels.”

“Companies were already creating great apps for Android phones and tablets. We realized it was important to structure Google TV so that it was easy for developers to adapt those existing apps to TV. Also, content producers can now target smaller audiences and still make money. You don’t need 5 million viewers; you can build a business model with 30,000.”

“If you want to solve the user problem of ‘How do I find what to watch among unlimited choices?,’ search isn’t going to be the only answer. The discovery engine debuted with our software update last fall. We’re now working on a feature that–with your permission–uses information from your Google account to infer movies and TV shows you might like and recommend them to you.”

“Google TV comes in several forms–sometimes built directly into a TV, sometimes in a separate set-top box–and there’s a learning curve with creating hardware. One big lesson we learned with Android is the earlier we start engaging with manufacturers, the better, because it gives hardware makers more time to iterate and improve their products.”

“We got a lot of feedback: ‘This is awesome, but it’s still siloed from the rest of my devices.’ Sometimes you’re going to discover what to watch on a phone or tablet or PC, so the ability for all these devices to work really well together is something else that we believe is going to be fundamental for shaping our road map going forward.”

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