Toshiba, Vizio Are Said to Plan Google TV Products

Toshiba Corp. and Vizio Inc. plan to release products based on Google Inc.’s TV software, lending support to the Internet search company’s efforts to bring the Web to TV screens, people familiar with the matter said.

The two companies will unveil products at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, the people said, declining to be identified because the companies haven’t made their plans public. Samsung Electronics Co. is considering making Google TV devices as well, the company said.

The support would give a boost to Google after the company clashed with TV networks over allowing their online content on the system. Google is counting on the product to parlay its dominance in online search advertising into a foothold in broadcast ads. Until now, the software has been used only in televisions and Blu-ray players from Sony Corp. and in a set-top box from Logitech International SA.

“We are very happy with the launch of Google TV with our initial partners Sony, Logitech and Intel,” Google said yesterday in an e-mailed statement, without naming any new partners. “Our long-term goal is to collaborate with a broad community of consumer electronics manufacturers to help drive the next generation, TV-watching experience.”

Vizio was the leading maker of LCD television sets in the U.S. in the third quarter, while Toshiba ranked sixth, according to ISuppli Corp.

Toshiba, Vizio

“Google certainly is a key partner for us on the PC side and will likely be key for us on the TV side as well,” said Jeff Barney, general manager of digital products for Toshiba America.

Toshiba is considering options for future networked televisions and doesn’t comment on its plans, Yuko Sugahara, a spokeswoman for Toshiba in Tokyo, said today.

Vizio doesn’t comment on unannounced products, said Chief Sales Officer Randy Waynick.

Samsung, the largest maker of televisions worldwide, said it hasn’t committed to Internet-connected sets with Google’s browser software included.

“A relationship with Google TV is currently under consideration but no decision has yet been reached,” Samsung spokeswoman SungIn Cho said in an e-mailed statement.

Google rose $11.96 to $594.97 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have lost 4 percent this year.

Google has struggled to sign up content producers, including Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, CBS Corp. and NBC, controlled by General Electric Co., to unlock programs from their websites for Google TV.

Google TV software, along with a push into 3-D television, is key to Sony’s attempts to claw back sales lost to Samsung and other set makers. Intel Corp., which is supplying chips for Google TV, is trying to use the products to lessen its reliance on PCs by winning market share in consumer electronics.

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