WSJ: Google working on Android-based set-top box

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from the Today @ PC World blog at PCWorld.com.

Google has teamed up with Dish Network to offer a set-top box based on the Android operating system, the Wall Street Journal reports. The box is said to be operated via a keyboard and will serve YouTube videos straight to a TV set.

The partnership between Google and Dish Networks will allow users of the set-top box to search through video content from Dish and YouTube, and also personalize video playlists, sources close to the matter told WSJ.

Google has been testing the set-top box service since last year, the report says, but only a very small number of the company's employees had access to it. The WSJ notes that the project might not see the light of day and could be scrapped at any time.

Working with Dish—and its 14 million subscribers—Google has a chance to leverage its TV ad-brokering business, as well as push YouTube videos into our living-rooms. But the WSJ report says Google has even more ambitious plans than that.

Google is reportedly asking several other unnamed TV service providers and hardware manufactures to use its Android operating system, in order to offer a broader range of programming and personalized ads, though it is unknown whether any other company other than Dish accepted the deal so far.

It's also unclear how the Google ads would be displayed on-screen or whether this advertising model would subsidise the price of the set-top box.

Notably, Google tech rivals Microsoft and Apple have been making forays into the TV market for years with their own Internet-linked products such as the Windows Media Center and Apple TV. TiVo also introduced last week a Web-enabled set-top box, which will bring cable programming and streaming content from Internet to TV screens.

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter

Comments