Google’s New BFFs: Amazon, Netflix and HBO
Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google PrimeTime app for Google TV sets and set-top boxes just got buddy-buddy with the Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and HBO Go content subscription services. The Google PrimeTime app was recently updated to version 1.4.3-43-79424, according to betanews, and the update rolls all these premium video content providers into the app’s interface through a “subscription selector” feature. Now Google PrimeTime through Google TV offers one-stop access to basically all the streaming content available, including the user’s cable or satellite channels.
Of course, users of the Google PrimeTime app will still need to have active subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO to stream their respective content through the app. (Amazon Instant Video, which was previously absent in any for from Google TV is also available.) When a user’s content subscriptions are added into the PrimeTime app via the subscription selector, all the content they already pay for is automatically marked as “free” in Google TV and watchable.
Will Google TV eventually completely replace the dreadful channel selector and streaming interface on cable and satellite set-top boxes? Maybe. It still has a long way to go to achieve meaningful market penetration. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has turned into a bit of a media center itself through Microsoft’s periodic updates of its system software. The Xbox 360 offers all the Comcast and Verizon channels and streaming content a user already pays for through its own slick interface. It also has Netflix, YouTube and variety of other streaming media services available through apps.
The advantage that console makers have over Google TV is that their consoles are multi-functional. Streaming video content is just an additional perk to the game and movie disc playing the consoles do so well. Google also has two methods to use Google TV. It comes built-in to select televisions but is also available as a set-top box. Google has to worry about the user experience across a variety of hardware made by different manufacturers. Console makers have the luxury of making both the hardware and software themselves.
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