A video purporting to show users how to become a tester for a forthcoming TV service to be launched by Google has split the web over claims it is a hoax.

A clip posted to YouTube by tech tutorial channel Infinite Solutions on Friday told viewers they could access high-quality US network TV shows as part of a private test by repeatedly logging in and out of Gmail.

Cynical net stalwarts immediately mocked the suggestion that the search giant would employ such arcane beta test methods. But others countered with blog posts and video responses to claim they had indeed successfully found Google TV by following the instructions.

Tutorial host Mark Erickson has posted previous tongue-in-cheek instructional videos, one suggesting users can extend their WiFi range by wrapping their Ethernet cable around a mobile phone.

Many Google watchers have said the latest episode is a hoax because no DNS entry exists for the address given by Erickson, tv.google.com. It would also buck the trend of previous Google beta tests; Gmail was made available via invitation, for example.

If fake, the video would represent not just a grand hoax but a testing of the response to any future possible such launch from Google. It is also a lesson in viral communication for many marketers.

The clip was viewed more than 100,000 times over the weekend, causing thousands of people to log in and out of their email accounts, some hundreds of times, in a desperate attempt to access the service.