For years, I've argued that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) should buy TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) . Now that the search king has officially launched Google TV, there should be no more excuses -- these two need to get hitched. Here's why.
TV's three trials, solved
Think of what makes television infuriating. Aside from Tyra and America's Next Top Model, I mean. I'll bet there are three things that most bother you:
- Lousy advertising. I'm not talking content here. I mean, really, who among us not named Lindsay Lohan doesn't love a good E*TRADE baby ad? The problem is that those ads, while cute, mean nothing to the viewer who wants his/her 401(k) to remain on permanent autopilot. Yet today's TV can't distinguish between viewers. As such, it broadcasts inappropriate or (worse) annoying ads.
- Frustrating choices. Today's TV viewers are captive unless they have either (a) TiVo, or (b) a connection to downloading or streaming services such as Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN ) Video on Demand, or Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX ) Watch Instantly. Both offer viewers more than they can get currently, and could become interesting earnings drivers if added to the everyday TV experience.
- Poor organization. Look at your cable TV guide, and you'll know what I mean. Conversely, Google TV makes programming findable, regardless of where it resides. This feature is also why some expected Google TV to be called Smart TV prior to the service's official launch last week.
Google TV is already designed to solve the third problem, and the first problem will go away once The Big G strikes deals with advertisers. But Google has no answer for the second problem, and Google TV won't change that without help from partners.
Competitors, meanwhile, will do their best to fill the void. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) is already hugging Netflix by making the iPad a conduit for broadcasting Watch Instantly streams over any compatible TV. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) has long professed an interest in winning the war for the living room.
Now imagine if Google bought TiVo.
Google TV would not only offer a better method for organizing programming, but would also allow for pause and playback of live TV, connections to streaming and downloading services, and a software foundation for enabling high-tech programming on any Google device, including a tablet.
Pay whatever it takes to get TiVo, Google. Because if you don't, someone else -- (cough) Apple (cough) -- will.
Do you think Google TV is Must-See TV? Discuss in the comments box below.