Panasonic TV Rejects Google Full Web Access, Chooses More Restrictive Option

Posted on March 31, 2010

Panasonic has pulled out of a proposed deal with Google and Intel whereby Panasonic televisions would be able to access the Internet using Google's Android software. The software works fine, but Panasonic said it would require purchasing costly chips from Intel to make it work, which would raise the price of the televisions higher than Panasonic wants to charge. Panasonic Corp. is the world's fourth-largest television maker by revenues, after Samsung, LG Electronics Inc. and Sony. Bloomberg reports:
Panasonic, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corp. and other makers of high-definition televisions are adding Internet connections to home-entertainment products this year, with each company taking a different approach. The goal is to let consumers use Web services such as Netflix, YouTube and weather sites without leaving the couch.

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Panasonic, based in Osaka, Japan, develops its own Web software and delivers content from its servers -- rather than allowing users to pull up anything they want. The Google-Intel partnership, meanwhile, would let users connect to almost any Web site, just like a personal computer. Sony also is part of that coalition, known as Google TV, according to people involved in the discussions.

The decision by Panasonic not to use Android follows a similar move by Samsung. That company said this month that it wasn't interested in Google TV because its current focus is on its own applications platform for TVs and Blu-ray players.
We don't care what Panasonic says, this has nothing to do with the cost of an Intel chip. Some tv manufacturers want to turn the Internet into a bunch of expensive, controlled channels that will limit consumers' access to content.

This is a big disappointment for Google and Intel. We think Panasonic is making a mistake here. People want to access all of the Internet without any restrictions or filters. This is what got AOL into trouble back in the day: trying keep customers inside the sandbox. Customers want to be free to roam the Internet, not be trapped in some Panasonic virtual reality version of the Web.