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Did Google Fiber Just Get It's Own Google TV Set-Top Box?

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Did Google Fiber just get its own Google TV set-top box? — Online Video News (click for full article)

    "Google's fiber plans are starting to take shape with the reveal of a yet-to-be launched residential gateway that popped up on the FCC's website this week (hat tip to Engadget). The box, which is manufactured by Humax, spots a label featuring the Google Fiber logo, which suggests that it will be used in the company's high-speed fiber network trial in Kansas City.


    Of course, Google doesn't want to say anything about the box. A Google spokesperson only sent me the following statement: "We're still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber in Kansas City and we have nothing to announce at this time."


    The device goes by the name GFHD100, and details remain scarce: Key documents were redacted for confidentiality, so we won't get to see the user's manual or any schematics. However, the test report reveals that the box is an "IP set-top box" that comes with at least one USB port, an Ethernet port, AV out, IR, WiFi, an Ethernet-Coax bridge and HDMI in and out.


    There are two things worth noting about this kind of set-up: The wireless module used in the device is produced by Samsung and goes by the name of SWB-B70. It doesn't seem to be in use in any WiFi-certified devices yet, and it's very likely that the chip will support gigabit WiFi speeds. Google had asked the FCC to authorize the use of gigabit WiFi for its fiber trials in February.


    The other interesting nugget is the use of HDMI in and out ports. That smells very much like Google TV, which has been using this kind of daisy-chaining to combine legacy devices with Android apps. We already know that Google wants to offer TV services through its fiber network in Kansas City, and this revelation indicates that these services will be based on Google TV. Of course, Google's TV services would likely be IP-based, but the HDMI input port would still help to connect legacy devices to a TV without interrupting the Google TV experience.


    Google has been planing to use its Google TV platform for cable set-top boxes for some time, and its acquisition of Motorola Mobility last month seemingly opened the doors for such a move. However, many cable operators are resisting the idea to add an open platform to their boxes, and there have been reports indicating that Google might simply sell off Motorola's set-top box business. Maybe the company needs to go through the troubles of building its own broadband infrastructure to make a Google TV-powered video service work?"
     
  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google Fiber GFHD100 'IP set-top box' breezes through the FCC, doesn't say where it's headed -- Engadget (click for full article)

    "The future of Google as a hardware manufacturer (beyond its purchase of Motorola) continues to be shrouded in rumor and mystery, but the GFHD100 box that just popped up in the FCC's database is very much a fact.


    As seen in the pictures, it's sporting a Google Fiber label which suggests it's a part of rolling out video services to the Kansas Cities, and also reveals it's being built for Google by Humax.


    The MAC address shown in the picture is registered to Google directly, while the test report calls it an IP-set top box, equipped with WiFi, IR, USB, Ethernet, HDMI input and output and an Ethernet / coax (we assume MoCA?) bridge, which sounds similar to the boxes favored by Verizon's FiOS.


    Unfortunately our only view of the device itself is from underneath so there's not much else to glean about its abilities or possible relation to the hardware Google has reportedly been testing around the country, but you can hit the source link below to dig through the documents yourself or check a close up of the label (we tried the QR code, it appears to be for registration but it didn't work) after the break."
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  3. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    FCC documents raise likelihood of Google selling TV in Kansas City - KansasCity.com (click for full article)

    "Paperwork for a set-top box filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday signaled yet again that Google Inc. looks poised to sell television programming with its coming Internet service in Kansas City.


    The application submitted by Google Fiber - the Google division promising ultra-fast Internet service to the Kansas City market - describes the device as "GFHD100." The name might stand for Google Fiber High Definition, but a Google spokeswoman declined comment.


    A test report submitted to the FCC for the gadget from South Korean manufacturer Humax Co. suggests the black box will have inputs for USB data hook-ups, LAN - or local area network - computer cables, and HDMI - high-definition multimedia interface - lines for digital audio and video signals. It also includes a Wi-Fi transmitter for wireless data signals that require an OK from the FCC.


    Google earlier this year applied for an FCC license for an "antenna farm" in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Such a collection of satellite dishes could be critical for capturing commercial television programming. The company has also gained licenses in both Kansas and Missouri to sell television service.


    Google announced more than a year ago that it would build a high-speed Internet network in the Kansas City market, including fiber optic cables to homes capable of delivering download speeds 100 times faster than the national broadband average. While its schedule has slipped, the company has indicated that it will begin selling its service in unidentified neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kan., sometime this summer.


    The California-based tech giant has remained mum on whether it would bundle a pay-TV component with its Internet service. Yet analysts have said it would likely need to offer a TV package to lure customers away from the cable and phone operators who that sell Internet hook-ups to most households.


    Google's FCC documents, first discovered by the tech website Engadget, describe an "IP-set top BOX." That suggests Google will use technology similar to AT&T's U-verse service that delivers cable-like programming digitally over the Internet.


    "This is standard operating procedure ... for somebody who's going to sell TV," said cable industry analyst Steve Effros. "You need a set-top box."
     
  4. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    IMO this paragraph from one of the articles kind of does a good job in summing up the situation:

    "Google has been planing to use its Google TV platform for cable set-top boxes for some time, and its acquisition of Motorola Mobility last month seemingly opened the doors for such a move. However, many cable operators are resisting the idea to add an open platform to their boxes, and there have been reports indicating that Google might simply sell off Motorola's set-top box business. Maybe the company needs to go through the troubles of building its own broadband infrastructure to make a Google TV-powered video service work?"

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    While the box in KC is probably nice and will likely support Google TV functions - I really can't see a company like Comcast jumping on-board with Google TV.

    And building a nationwide fiber network would be a mammoth undertaking for Google - that I don't think they will pursue. Although IMO ultimately the best way to ensure the success of Google TV- would be if Google owned the internet "pipes".

    However I'm pretty sure Google shareholders would feel very antsy if Google attempted a nationwide fiber network.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012

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