Google Buys SageTV to Spruce Up Google TV

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-06-20
 
 
 

Google has acquired SageTV, which makes digital video recording and media management software for home entertainment centers, for an undisclosed sum.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) declined to say how many employees from SageTV would be joining the company, where they will be based or what they will do.

However, the team will almost certainly be deployed to work on the search engine's Google TV effort out of YouTube's offices in San Bruno, Calif.

"The SageTV team has developed the latest in media management software, and we look forward to working with them to take this technology to the next level," is all a Google spokesperson who tell eWEEK about the deal.

While it might be tempting to believe that because SageTV makes DVR software, Google will use this technology to go ahead and add native DVR to Google TV. The only way Google TV users can leverage DVR through Google TV is through the Dish satellite service. However, most think DVR is hardly the focus.

As part of its media management provisions, SageTV has created Placeshifter. A $30 add-on to the $80 SageTV media center package, PlaceShifter gives users remote access to videos, music, photos, as well as live and recorded programming.

Google could leverage this software for Google TV, providing a cloud-based approach to TV content management it has only flirted by letting users "fling" YouTube videos from their smartphones to Google TV.

SageTV said in a note to customers its store has been shut down, though customer support for its DVR products will continue.

The SageTV landing page is still live, but most of the links are dead, save for one directing users to the SageTV forums, which is where people can glean a bit more about the company's products.

The Website includes a note announcing the deal, confirming that SageTV joined Google to scale its own media management products:

"By teaming up with Google, we believe our ideas will reach an even larger audience of users worldwide on many different products, platforms and services," according to the note.

SageTV also alluded to the fact that its interested in Google's developer efforts: "We've seen how Google's developer efforts are designed to stimulate innovation across the Web, and as developers have played a core role in the success of SageTV, we think our shared vision for open technology will help us advance the online entertainment experience."

SageTV encourages interested developers to email sagetv-dev@google.com.

One area where SageTV personnel might help is in bringing Google TV to the developer masses, something Google has pledged to do via the Android Market by incorporating Google TV specifications in its Android software developer kit.

The idea, Google TV Product Manager Rishi Chandra told eWEEK at Google I/O last month, is to enable developers to write applications tailored for the Web TV service. This capability was due out in the first half of the year, but Chandra said second half of the year is the more likely target date.

At any rate applications should fortify the user experience, similar to the way it has for Apple's iPhone and iPad, as well as Google's own Android Market for smartphones.

 
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