Google TV was announced yesterday. It’s a way for television viewers to use their big screen TVs to watch their favorite shows and other on-line content directly through the internet rather than with a traditional cable subscription.
This can’t be good news for huge cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner, since it gives their customers an alternative to the cablers near-monopoly on household television access.
Ironically, Google is attempting to replicate what the cable companies have done to landline telephone service providers with Voice Over IP (VOIP): give telephone customers a less expensive choice.
But here’s where it’s different. Cable companies ALSO provide the majority of broadband internet service to these same households. What if Comcast decided to slow down the access for competing on-line viewing content? That might degrade the television-watching experience enough to make it a frustrating and unacceptable alternative.
That’s what network neutrality is for: all on-line content should be treated equally.
I have problems with Google TV related to privacy, and I don’t know if it will be successful. But I’m totally for “choice” in television viewing. Network neutrality is an absolute must to make it possible.