Today is the official launch day for Google TV. Some users aren't celebrating, though. Early adopters who brought home their Logitech Revue or one of Sony's Google TV-enhanced devices are paying a price for being on the bleeding edge of technology. According to the Wall Street Journal (via Engadget), several networks are blocking Google TV from displaying full episodes from their online repositories. Spokespeople from ABC, CBS and NBC all confirmed that, yes indeed, they're blocking Google TV. Fox isn't, but they say they haven't reached a definitive decision yet. And of course, we already knew Hulu would be blocked, at least until Google can work out a Hulu Plus deal.
We talked about this situation way back in August in Will Google TV have content to deliver? when Google was having difficulties in negotiating deals with the networks. It would seem those issues were never resolved and Google forged on regardless. The networks' issues seem to vary from not liking the business model (or lack thereof) to not liking that search results on Google TV can point users to pirated versions of the networks' content. Google TV owners can presumably get around these blockades by spoofing their user agent in the browser's advanced settings menu (I haven't confirmed this as I don't have access to Google TV, but this is how testers were getting around the Hulu blocks). For readers of ITWorld this is an easy enough work around but it probably won't fly with the general public. [Update: According to CNET, changing the user agent is not longer enough to get past the Hulu block, so perhaps it won't work with the networks, either. Can anyone with Google TV try it for the rest of us?] So will Google be able to win over the networks? How much bad network PR will this generate? Will the FCC get involved? Grab a bowl of popcorn and don't worry if you can't watch The Event on Google TV; this is going to be a more interesting show to watch, anyway.