Sun Valley: Sling Media co-founder has questions about Google TV

July 7, 2010

(Updates to reflect correct name of Slingbox product)

Google is a few months away from releasing Google TV, its new service that blends television with Internet capabilities.

But at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, where the masters of media, entertainment and technology congregate every July to schmooze and talk shop, one attendee with experience mixing TV with the Web noted the challenges facing Google as it tries to conquer the living room.

The “entertainment experience is not just about having a search box and some great algorithms. We all want that and we all enjoy that part of the experience” but it’s only one part of the experience, said Blake Krikorian.

As the co-founder of Sling Media, Krikorian developed the Slingbox — which allows consumers to stream their television programming to their PCs. In 2007, EchoStar acquired Sling Media for about $380 million.

Krikorian said that getting the content and programming right — the traditional DNA of Hollywood and New York media companies — will be the key for a tech company like Google to succeed in the living room.

“People just want to relax and be entertained sometimes. That requires a certain DNA. That DNA, Hollywood has understood and NY has understood. And Silicon Valley worlds don’t quite get that, with the exception of Steve Jobs.”

“The question is, Will a Google recognize what they know and what they don’t know and try and fill in those gaps? Or will they be one of these big juggernauts that starts drinking their own Kool Aid and believe ‘Well, we’re a lot smarter than the rest of those guys, we will approach this with technology and we will win?’”

For good measure, Krikorian also chided the news media for not asking tougher questions at the May launch event for Google TV.

“It was an interesting demonstration and we’ve all seen many demonstrations from many companies over the years, but yet there weren’t a lot of hard questions being asked there,” he said.

“Where’s the price point? Where’s the exact launch date? Where’s all these things?”

Perhaps Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who is also attending the conference in Sun Valley, can provide some answers to Krikorian’s questions.

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