Television broadcasters block Google TV

Google Inc CEO Eric Schmidt introduces Google TV, blending web technology and television, in collaboration with various partners, at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco, California May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Three of the biggest U.S. television broadcasters have blocked their shows from Google Inc’s new Web TV service, throwing a wrench into the company’s plans to expand from computers to the living room.

Spokespeople from Walt Disney Co and NBC Universal confirmed on Thursday that the companies blocked access to its broadcast TV shows from Google TV. Disney owns network and cable TV businesses ABC and ESPN.

News Corp’s Fox is also considering blocking access to shows on its Website, but a decision has not yet been made, a source familiar with the matter said.

CBS has blocked access to full-length episodes of their programs, including popular shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

CBS declined to comment.

Google TV, which became available this month in the United States, allows consumers to access Web content on their television screens.

The service, which is built-in to devices from Sony and Logitech International, could open new advertising opportunities for Google, which generates the bulk of its roughly $24 billion in annual revenue from Web search ads.

But Google’s plans for television may be viewed as a threat by established television businesses, said Gartner analyst Van Baker.

“Everybody knows the lock that Google has on Internet traffic in terms of advertising. If you take that model and you extend it to the television, suddenly Google’s power becomes enormous in the advertising space and the broadcasters don’t like that idea,” Baker said.

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic, Yinka Adegoke, Jennifer Saba and Sue Zeidler. Editing by Kenneth Li, Robert MacMillan and Bernard Orr