Google TV 'expected in UK within six months'

Google TV, which has had a shaky start since it was launched in the States, is coming to the UK, and should be available via set-top boxes or enabled TVs within six months.

That's the announcement Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt (left) is expected to make when he gives the MacTaggart Lecture this evening at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Dr Schmidt – the first person from outside the conventional broadcast arena to be invited to give the lecture – will focus on the way the internet has changed the way people view TV, and how broadcasters can engage with this new technology.

Speaking of the invitation earlier this year, he said 'I have always been a profound optimist about the potential for technology to improve people's lives - though I am also a realist and understand it can be immensely disruptive in the process.

'So I look forward to discussing the opportunities and challenges ahead for the TV industry in Edinburgh.'

Google has already done deals with UK broadcasters including ITN, BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to allow it to show their content on YouTube, but is currently involved in legal wrangles with MTV/Paraount owner Viacom, whose $1bn suit claims the service constitutes 'massive intentional copyright infringement.

However, according to some press reports, Dr Schmidt is expected to come to the festival with an appeal to delegates from the broadcast world - 'Google needs you'.

It's hoped Google TV will enable viewers to move seamlessly between live broadcast content and net-streamed programming, accessing programmes such as those offered by the BBC's iPlayer service, and searching all kinds of content with a single click.

Access will be via a dedicated set-top box – Logitech is already selling its Google-enable Revue (above) in the USA –, or using TVs with Google TV capability built-in, such as those already shown by Sony in the States.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.