Once again--this time perhaps with a bit more street cred--Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is said to be in the market to build a set-top box.
Rumors of a Google box have been around since the search engine decided it wanted to build its own fiber network, but this time there seems to be a little bit of meat on the bones as Google has apparently sent set-top box plans to the Federal Communications Comission for approval.
The ducks seem lined up for some kind of Google making some kind of Google IPTV move. It's on track to deliver a 1 Gbps ultra-broadband service in Kansas City, Mo., later this year; it's secured IPTV licenses from utility regulators in Missouri and Kansas; and, of course, it just completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, one of the three largest set-top box makers in the world.
The FCC-submitted plans call for more than your typical IPTV set-top box with WiFi, IR, USB, Ethernet, HDMI and even coax among its features. Oddly, the box is being built by the South Korean electronics company Humax (KOSDAQ:028080.KQ)--but that could change as Moto becomes a bigger piece of the business. Finally, to add to the dominoes that seem to be lining up, Google recently applied for an FCC license to set up a satellite farm in Iowa.
If Google is unafraid to stir up the waters with Moto's biggest customers in cable and telco by building, buying and using competitive set-tops, this could be the precursor to the ultimate in fiber competition. If not, it could be the precursor to a Moto box business spinoff. Either way, it appears that Google is revving up its IPTV plans.
- see the FCC report
- see this FierceCable story
Google completes Moto acquisition
Google gets green light to offer TV in Kansas City, Mo.