Along with the announcement of its high speed Internet service, Google introduced Google Fiber TV, its own television service, which works a lot like an old-school television provider. Unlike Google TV, which is a streaming box, Fiber TV is a fancied up cable service. For $120 per month Kansas City residents can get the superfast Internet plus a TV package. This isn't some sort of unbundled situation, like Roku, where users get a mix of free and paid channels. Nor is this like Apple TV, which streams current Internet services, like Netflix and Hulu+ through the TV. This is Google's version of the cable, more like Comcast or FiOs.
That said, there are a few things that make Google Fiber TV different than a regular cable network, for better and worse.
- It doesn't have all the channels one might expect. Here's the list, which Google warns is subject to change. It includes Bravo (which is owned by NBC, which in turn is owned by Comcast) and The Food Network (which is owned by Tribune and Scripps), but Google didn't strike deals to carry any channels owned by Time Warner or Disney, which means no HBO or ESPN, the channel that pushes cable package prices up -- because lots of people get cable just to watch sports. And no AMC either.
- That said, the price is more expensive than other cable bundles available. Of course, one has to take into account the hypersonic Internet, which alone runs for $70 a month. But the $120 a month deal costs more than current deal running on Comcast that gives returning customers cable and Internet for $79.95 per month. It has a "digital premier and performance Internet" deal for $79.99.
- It comes with a 21st century version of a remote. Unlike a normal TV, which comes with what still resembles the original clicker, Google Fiber TV gives subscribers a free Google Nexus 7 tablet (retail value: $200) to use as a remote. By downloading the Fiber app, users can search shows on there -- with text or voice -- wirelessly stream certain programs on the tablet, control the DVR, and share what they are watching with their friends. "Fiber TV will integrate with all popular social networks, making live TV more relevant than ever," Google execs said during the presentation, notes the Verge's David Pierce. If you're into that sort of thing.
- It comes with a very robust DVR. It can record up to 500 hours of TV and eight shows all at one time. Most standard DVRs from cable companies only lets users record up to two shows at once.
- It also connects to Google Drive. Normal cable companies don't have a separate Internet centric store, where users can buy content. Google does.
So, in short: Better remote, better DVR, but less TV. Though this comes with some Internet friendly perks, it has nothing to do with cord cutting. In fact, it's just a different, more digitally enhanced cord than traditional cable networks offer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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