Schmidt On Google TV Network Backlash: We're Taking Dumb TV And Making It Smart

Today at Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Google CEO Eric Schmidt took the stage for a Q&A with hosts John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly. One topic: Google TV.

Specifically, the hosts asked about the backlash Google TV is now seeing from some of the major U.S. television networks. While saying he didn’t want to speak for them, Schmidt noted that this is the first time someone has tried to do this merging of Internet at television at a huge scale. Obviously, he said, some of them are going to initially be hesitant about such a transition.

As he hears it, some of the arguments are “you’re taking a dumb television and making it smart”. “Yes, we’re guilty of that,” Schmidt said. He said that the networks seem to be concerned that the enormous revenue streams targeted at these dumb televisions will go away if they change the model. Schmidt disagrees. He thinks people will watch even more television if it’s augmented with the Internet.

Schmidt said that the press has done a good job of adding drama to the situation, but he believes that Google and the networks will smooth all this over in relatively short order. “The ones that have reservations we’re trying to address that with data,” he said.

And Schmidt said not to discount the role apps will play on this platform. This hasn’t been seen yet, but the platform is the powerful thing here. Games, new emergence technologies, and more. It’s all coming to the living room thanks to Android and the Google TV, according to Schmidt.