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The battle to bring the internet to the small screen is heating up. And the fight to control when and how the internet is brought to the small screen is heating up too.

After finding Google TV blocked by a number of television networks, a Google product manager for Google TV recently stated that the company hasn't done a good enough job communicating what the product is to content owners. And it doesn't seem to be improving in that effort.

Yesterday, FOX joined the list of major content owners blocking Google TV; if you want to view full episodes of Fox.com video content via Google TV, you're out of luck. This, of course, deals another blow to Google. If the company is unable to come to terms with major content owners, it's unclear just how many more blows Google TV can take before the product with so much potential loses most of that potential.

But Google TV's woes aren't deterring others from following in Google's footsteps. Upstart Boxee is trying to make a big splash in the same market with its global launch of the Boxee Box. Like Google TV devices, the Boxee Box is designed to bring internet content to your television and shares many features similar to those offered by Google TV.

And like Google TV, Boxee's CEO, Avner Ronen, expects that major content owners, particularly television owners, will look to block the Boxee Box. But that doesn't appear to bother him. He told TechCrunch, "Our view is that ultimately it does not make sense for content owners to discriminate based on browsers and screen size. It is an endless battle."

Ronen may very well be right, but being right isn't always the foundation for success. Like Google, Ronen believes that Boxee can work with content owners to help them charge for their content. He says that next year his company will offer a payment solution that he believes "will be part of the solution." But will major content owners take the bait? Perhaps, but here too, Ronen is making the same mistake Google made: his company is going to be negotiating after the fact.

The reality is that Google, Boxee and most of the other players in this space don't have much leverage. If consumers aren't able to access the content they want via Google TV, the Boxee Box, etc., generating mainstream demand for these products will be tough. Without such demand, major content owners will negotiate for access to their content from a position of power.

From this perspective, Steve Jobs might just might prove his prescience once again. But even if Jobs is right, he like Ronen, might find that his own product (Apple TV) isn't any better off because of it.

Photo credit: Programa Novo via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 November, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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rory

Great post. Too be honest Ive never heard of Boxee Box but let the battle commence! Until all contents is available to viewers internet TV just won't catch on...although the latest news on BBC's iPlayer is going global might be a big player in internet TV.

almost 6 years ago

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Chris

The cable channels are pissing in their pants and just looking for ways to fend off the inevitable. Murdoch's paywalls are biting already, just look at the dismal readership of the UK's Times newspaper online. 

2011 will be an interesting year. YouView in the UK is gearing up to be an IPTV heavyweight and will move the battlelines.

almost 6 years ago

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James S

Why can't the TV networks figure out how they can personalize direct advertising to online viewers? This is a huge market that is not being tapped and it is strange that Google was not on top of this. Instead I get to see the same 15 second commercial from the usual suspects. When I search for a pizza shop on Google I get results from my local area. Pizza Hut, Papa John's and Domino's are not at the top of the list either. If I could watch online shows from the networks and get adverts about cycling, camping, technology, professional sports etc... then that would appeal to me. Someone needs to get some young blood and new ideas in the advertising departments of these TV networks. They could tap a giant new market and they are sitting on their hands. How much money do companies spend on direct mailer advertising? Couldn't this be the answer to question? Move money from one media to another? I throw most of these mailers away anyway. Save a tree.

almost 6 years ago

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Scott Pantall

Why are content providers OK with me watching their shows on a computer, but not ok with me watching their shows on a computer hooked up to a TV?

almost 6 years ago

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Jac

Google tv and boxee are a great alternative to people downloading content "illegally" if the content providers prevent people from watching their content on their websites based solely on their choice of browser/device they should not be surprised when consumers bypass them altogether.

almost 6 years ago

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Canadian Drugs

Google TV recently stated that the company hasn't done a good enough job communicating what the product is to content owners. And it doesn't seem to be improving in that effort. These all are great to know about it.

almost 6 years ago

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: Joe

Why are content providers OK with me watching their shows on a computer, but not ok with me watching their shows on a computer media, thanks.

almost 4 years ago

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