updated 02:25 pm EST, Mon November 22, 2010
Viacom blocks Google TV for Comedy Central, more
Google TV was dealt another major blow on Sunday after viewers discovered that Viacom had blocked the platform on its networks. Websites for Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and other networks now show that the "content is unavailable for your device" rather than loading the Flash video. The restriction was expected earlier given Viacom's failed lawsuit against YouTube but comes relatively late.
It joins blocks from Fox, NBC, SyFy, ABC and CBS and now virtually leaves just Turner as one of the major networks allowing Google TV. All of the studios have blocked it out of fear of losing ad revenue from traditional TV sources such as cable and satellite. Providers have insisted that sudden drops in paid TV subscribers are due solely to the economy, but the recent offerings of ultra-basic TV plans combined with the blocks have suggested that some users may be "cord-cutters" switching to web video and services like Netflix.
While news websites and more independent sites still allow watching without a settings workaround, the lack of content from major providers has gutted much of the platform's advantage for Internet video. Although its chief rival the Apple TV is limited to ABC and Fox for direct rentals, its support for local if paid gives it access to all major networks where Google's focus on free web access has struggled.
Native apps will potentially restore some of the functionality by giving users eventual access to Hulu Plus, Netflix and other services that hold the content, but most if not all known so far will require either a subscription or pay-per-show access. [via GTVHub]