Contrary to expectations, Google's entertainment system project will have nothing to do with streaming TV shows, and instead will focus on music. "Google Inc. is developing a home-entertainment system that streams music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under the company's own brand," The Wall Street Journal's Amir Efrati reports. Considering that the masses have yet to embrace the current streaming TV devices, leaving space for something revolutionary to address a market niche, we wonder why Google has chosen music as the priority for its first Google-made gadget.
In some ways, perhaps it makes sense. Google's never made something on its own. The company outsourced hardware to Logitech and Sony for its TV, and look how well that went. Sales lagged, and Logitech eventually slashed prices. Instead of debuting its first wholly Google product with something risky and flashy like TV, this might act as a nice test drive for a future mind-blowing all-inclusive streaming wonder product (in our dreams). Google has all the other parts to create an Apple-esque Airplay set-up, which streams music from iTunes to other Mac products. Google has tablets and phones. Google has a music store. Putting it all together should go rather smoothly.
But, this niche doesn't really need filling. All the current less-than-ideal "streaming TV" sets and boxes incorporate music services, like Spotify and Pandora. So why just focus on music?
In fairness, it's unclear from the Journal report whether Google only has musical aspirations. "Digital media" could mean shows and movies. What is clear is that streaming is the future. According to new research via The New York Times's Brian Stelter, the 12- to 34-year-old demographic is spending less time in front of a set:
Adults ages 25 to 34, for instance, watched about four and a half fewer hours of television in the third quarter of 2011 than at the same time in 2010 — the equivalent of about nine minutes a day. Viewers ages 12 to 17 also watched about nine fewer minutes a day. The demographic in between, those ages 18 to 24, watched about six fewer minutes a day.