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IMS Research: will Google TV make Apple TV irrelevant?

Google’s partial unveiling yesterday of its content partners and strategy for Google TV provided insight into the company’s television strategy. According to Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst at IMS Research (, the capabilities and product reach of Google TV may make another high-profile over-the-top (OTT) video play, Apple TV, largely irrelevant to consumers over time.

“Apple TV has struggled to capture mainstream consumers,” says Erickson. “Now, the product is squeezed between OTT capabilities on game consoles and Blu-ray players, and the search-augmented, integrated television+OTT video experience that Google TV is slated to deliver across TV and set-top box form factors. Google’s strategy to make the Google TV experience compatible with cable, satellite, or terrestrial broadcasts will enable the product to have greater impact than Apple TV. This is also due to broad content support, with Google TV supporting a larger selection of content partners that is expected to increase over time.”

Google TV still faces hurdles, with retail hardware partners currently limited to Sony and Logitech, and a few holes in its content offering, notably Hulu Plus, Flickr, and others. These limitations, however, are only expected to be near-term, says Erickson.

The analyst, who will shortly begin work on IMS’ 2011 report on Internet-delivered TV, believes “Google TV fundamentally differs from Apple TV in that its scale is larger and less constrained; it has tight integration of live TV, OTT video, and Internet-driven search and applications, either in set-top box form or integrated into your TV. Without careful re-imagining of what Apple TV’s value proposition will be within this new OTT competitive landscape that Google TV will occupy at the high end, Apple’s ‘hobby’ is likely to remain such.”

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