Access to mainstream programming is one obvious reason Google purchased Widevine (announced on 12/3). With Widevine’s well-respected content protection system it should follow that the major TV brands will release their product in one form or another to a GoogleTV offering. With Widevine, Google could allow the content owners to set their own rules for how they package and sell their product on GoogleTV.
A less obvious meaning of this move is that it may create a new middleware option for IPTV providers. At last month’s TelcoTV, Iacta demonstrated their casual gaming service operating on the GoogleTV platform (see page 10 of the latest edition of Screenplays Magazine for my article on this demonstration). Iacta’s port to GoogleTV preserved the ability of the operator to include their branding as part of Iacta’s service. In other words, from a customer user interface perspective, it looked like an Iacta/Operator-branded service and not GoogleTV.
Using Iacta’s demonstration as an example, why couldn’t operators customize the open source GoogleTV to create their own interface? The addition of the Widevine content protection system would provide the authentication and security necessary to assuage the concerns of content owners. If someone were to add the hooks into things such as billing and Emergency Alert System, GoogleTV might serve as sort of an open source middleware for traditional, franchised IPTV systems.
This might significantly improve cost, time-to-market and innovation compared to the traditional approaches to IPTV. I think Google would encourage this type of development. For instance, their online bookstore, that will soon launch, centers on the revolutionary idea of working with independent booksellers. In this light, it is not hard to fathom a scenario where Google, through its purchase of Widevine, encourages independent Communications Service Providers to adopt their platform in order to promulgate GoogleTV.
What do you think?
Image courtesy of Iacta