Google May Carry Cable TV Channels Online

Google is working on a way to bring you cable channels the same way you get your email: through a normal internet connection. The company is trying to license cable channels in order to challenge entrenched cable and satellite TV providers like Charter Communications and DIRECTV. While no deals are imminent, the fact that Google is a powerhouse that tends to get its way has some cable and satellite companies scared.

More from the New York Times:

Google, an advertising company at its core, has tried to make a dent in the television business before. Previous talks with channel owners in 2011 went nowhere. An attempt at an automated TV ad-buying system was shut down last year. Broadband in the meantime has continued to become more popular and more widely available, spurring interest in alternatives to traditional television distribution.

Google’s renewed push was first reported by The Wall Street Journal Tuesday afternoon. Intel is trying to create a similar over-the-top service, but it has run into roadblocks set up by Time Warner Cable and other incumbent television distributors. These include contracts between existing distributors and some channel owners that prohibit the channels from being licensed to new competitors like Intel. An Intel spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday.

Another challenge involves channel owners like the Walt Disney Company and Viacom, who could stand to benefit or suffer greatly from the potential service, depending on how it is developed. Some owners doubt that there is much of a market for cable via the Internet in the first place, and they are content with the three methods of distribution they have today: cable companies like Comcast, the satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, and the fiber optic providers Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse.

All it takes, though, is one major company with a lot of valuable channels—ESPN, perhaps?—to agree to work with Google, and the whole landscape of the cable television industry could change.

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