As TV Sales Slump, Google's Time Is Now - Forbes (click for full article) "Erin Kim at CNN Money has an interesting piece today about the lagging sales of LCD televisions. There's been spate of predictions that TVs will almost naturally become "smart" (basically Internet-ready) by 2016 through attrition. And that may very well be true, but Kim's report casts a little doubt on the speed of your TV's turnover, without some help. In Kim's report, researcher Tom Morrod was quoted: "It's akin to the smartphone market before the iPhone," Morrod said. "[Consumers are] waiting for a reason to spend more money, but if one doesn't come along, then TVs will be in trouble longer term." That made me think of Google. I know it makes most people think Apple. As my colleague Eric Savitz wrote this morning, analysts get "tingly at the prospect of Apple potentially jumping into the television business." Apple may be working on this in super-secret mode (it's harder to leave your TV prototype at the bar), but Google is out there. It was so far out there that its first partner, Logitech, said the endeavor "was a big mistake." But this time Smart TV is ready and getting ever more so. That's because the content is coming. It's no longer simply choosing between Hulu, Netflix and some web-first companies like YouTube, Vimeo and Funny or Die. Networks and cable/satellite companies are being forced to push more of their content into the stream, because customers want that. A broadcast network exec told me recently the company would prefer you watch scheduled programming, but if it's streaming customers want, it's what they'll get. That is lightyears away from Christmas 2010, when the industry was still resisting any model but the one that's worked for decades. At CES in January, as Joe Wilcox reported over at Betanews, manufacturers were starting to see this too. LG, Vizio and Samsung joined Sony in Googling up their sets. And it wasn't just the changing tide of content the spurred the move. Wilcox: ... fear of anything Apple these days is quite the motivator, particularly if the fruit-logo company might stomp into your entrenched business. Better to adopt Google TV fast than be Apple roadkill. This was the Android road to success. And it can be for TV too, but Google has to get it right this time. It has worked on improving apps for the sets, which is good. It has started to lay its own infrastructure, which could prove to be genius. It has readied its own "network" - YouTube - to optimize for the bigger screen, which is fine. But only the YouTube solution really gets at the heart of the matter: content. If Google plans to take full advantage of this TV customer pause, it has to address this in a big way over the next six months. And for that, it should take a hint from Microsoft and start building irresistibile partnerships.