Since 2012, whispers of Google developing an Online TV Service began to swirl. There really wasn’t much more light shed on details until last week. The Information reported that the service is on track to go live in 6 to 9 months and that many big networks– Including ABC, CBS, ESPN– are close to signing on board. To be honest, we have been hearing this since Google TV days, but with more people than ever cutting the cord and similar streaming services like Sling TV and PS VUE already blazing the trail, this might actually be legit.
The rumored base price would be around $35 and you would have traditional live network channels featured right alongside homegrown YouTube content creators. This is a bit perplexing but fascinating. There really isn’t much more to the rumors so the rest of this article is pure conjecture and wishful thinking.
With Sling TV and PS VUE already widely available and a similar Apple TV service imminent, what ways could Google differentiate it’s services? The few things that I miss about Cable TV is the channel surfing and that at the time, it was a one stop shop. Streaming services are awesome, but so fractured. I currently have Youtube, Plex, Google Play Movies & TV, MLB.tv, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HDHomeRun VIEW, Sling TV, HBO GO, PBS Kids, and Pluto TV on my SHIELD TV to watch all of the different shows that I want to see. Universal Search can make things a little easier to find what you want, but truly it is a mess, and can be more expensive than cable itself.
A way that “YouTube Unplugged” could set itself a part is to allow for a truly leanback traditional tv experience alongside an on-demand one. It would be great if they got live network channels streaming right alongside PlutoTV-esque “channels” of curated YouTube content. Or if you are watching Jeopardy on CBS, it could suggest Jeopardy Bloopers or similar content found on YouTube. Rolling access to Google Play purchases into “YouTube Unplugged” could add value as well. Universal access would be important, too, as I would imagine that Apple TV’s version would be limited to Apple Products. Sling TV and PS VUE aren’t quite there yet either. Sling TV’s one available stream and PS Vue’s home only viewing are weaknesses that Google could play on as well.
Though not mentioned in the article, I would have to assume that “YouTube Unplugged “would be a perfect match for Android TV and would hopefully integrate nicely with Live Channels!