Attempts by U.S. broadcasters to seek payment for allowing their online video to be viewed through Google Inc.'s new Web-connected TV platform represents a "misunderstanding" of what it is, a Google executive said Tuesday.
Broadcasters ABC, NBC and CBS have blocked full episodes of their shows from being accessed through Google TV's Web browser since the product became available last month.
Google TV is a software platform that allows users to access websites and online videos through their televisions.
Rishi Chandra, Google TV's lead product manager, likened the broadcasters' payment requests to a network demanding fees from Microsoft Corp. so video would work on its Internet Explorer browser.
Analysts have said the broadcasters' blockade was intended to discourage people from canceling their monthly subscriptions with cable and satellite TV service providers by eliminating the option of watching online episodes for free on their Web-connected televisions.
Later, Chandra clarified his remarks to say that although Google TV would not pay to access online shows, another Google subsidiary, YouTube, could extend its advertising revenue-share model to the living room.
"The way we would pay for content is through a similar mechanism that we pay for content through YouTube," Chandra said in a phone interview. "This is the difference between Google TV and YouTube. YouTube is a service. Google TV itself is literally just a platform."
Chandra, who made the initial remarks on the sidelines of the Streaming Media West conference, said it's up to content providers to decide how much to charge consumers. He said Google TV is meant to supplement the cable and broadcast TV business model by adding Web access.
He also said Google TV is preparing to provide access to Hulu Plus, the $10-per-month online video subscription plan that allows users to access the back episodes of many current TV shows from News Corp.'s Fox, NBC Universal and The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, such as "Glee," "30 Rock," and "Modern Family."
CBS and NBC declined to comment. ABC did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The Sony television that came pre-installed with the Google software package can still access their channels like any other TV, such as with an antenna or a cable or satellite TV subscription. The Logitech set-top box that comes with Google TV also does not interfere with regular TV signals.