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Google TV Hopes Howard Stern, Sirius XM Radio Can Spice Things Up

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HOWARD STERN GOOGLE TV
AP


By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - Google Inc is getting help from shock jock Howard Stern to revive its Internet TV software, which has languished since its debut 19 months ago.

Satellite radio provider Sirius XM will make all of its programming available on Google TV, including Stern's shows and live sports through a new app that will let listeners pause live programs and play back up to five hours of content, the company told Reuters.

Sirius XM, which plans to announce the deal at Google's I/O developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, joins a growing list of partners for Google TV such as Netflix and Amazon.com.

But it has been an uphill battle for Google to convince TV networks and other content providers to let their programs be available on devices powered by Google TV.

Google TV is built into television models manufactured by Sony Corp, LG Electronics, as well as Vizio set-top boxes. It allows consumers to access online videos and websites on their TVs, as well as to download and play with specialized apps such as video games.

Google has never revealed how many Google TVs have been sold and analysts have said the product has failed to gain traction with consumers. By contrast, its Android software which powers smartphones has been a runaway success, accounting for 56 percent of the market compared with 23 percent for Apple Inc's iPhone, according to tech research firm Gartner.

TV broadcasters ABC, CBS and NBC blocked online versions of their programs from appearing on Google TV when it was first released in November 2010. Last fall, Disney said a handful of its movies and shows would be available to rent through YouTube on Google TV.

Sirius XM's app can only be used by its 22 million subscribers and cannot be accessed without a Sirius XM subscription. Users who download the app can also listen to additional channels they do not receive in Sirius XM radios in their cars, such as "ESPN SportsCenter", "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio" and "Carlin's Corner", a channel dedicated to George Carlin's comedy.

Sirius XM said the app will be available to download this summer, but it did not provide an exact date.

The company said it worked closely with Google to develop the app so subscribers could have another way to access the subscription service. Sirius XM already has apps on Apple and Android mobile devices and some of its channels are available on TV for customers of satellite TV operator Dish Network.

Several of Sirius XM's competitors, Pandora Media and Slacker Radio already have apps on Google TV.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker; Editing by Richard Chang)

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