Google Calls GoogleTV a Hoax

Video From Infinite Solutions Purports to Show How to Access Network TV Shows

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Want to watch broadcast-network prime-time programming streamed in a single place? According to a video circulating widely on the web this week, Google has created a venture called GoogleTV. But the search giant has called it a hoax.
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Streaming 'Prison Break'
The video, fronted by Mark Erikson of Infinite Solutions, shows Mr. Erickson logging onto the service through his Gmail account and streaming Fox's prime-time hit "Prison Break." A shot of GoogleTV's home page even shows an ad from Chase. The logos of three networks -- CBS, NBC and Fox -- are on what is described as a beta site.

The geeky-looking Mr. Erickson explains the somewhat complicated instructions for accessing the site. Once he logs onto "GoogleTV," a small TV icon pops up where the "M" in "Gmail" appears. According to commentors on YouTube regarding the video, accessing the site required completing the process hundreds of times, though some said they were able to finally access GoogleTV. (Some of those commentors, and a post on Wikipedia, explain that the video is from a production company called Fatal Farm.)

A variety of network executives close to the online world said they had never heard of GoogleTV; others described some of Google's actual ventures in TV land, which include talks with cable operators about repping their airtime as part of a nascent online auction, aimed at rivaling eBay's partnership with a selection of marketers.

NBCU's broadband builder
Fanning the flames further this week was the suggestion that Michael Steib would head the new GoogleTV venture. Mr. Steib, a former general manager of strategic ventures at NBC Universal, left the network last month to join Google in an unnamed position. Mr. Steib built NBCU's ambitious video syndicate the National Broadband Company (NBBC). Mr. Steib did not return earlier calls regarding GoogleTV.

A Google spokesman, however, in a statement issued to numerous tech sites, said: "Mark Erickson's Infinite Solutions segment highlights Gmail's seemingly infinite powers -- from gobs of storage and lightning-fast search to some of the best anti-spam action in the business. Alas, Mark's 'Google TV beta' is simply a figment of his fertile imagination -- but great entertainment for all of us here at the Googleplex."
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