Google rumor hints at 'Unplugged' streaming TV service

CBS is said to have signed a deal to provide channels for a skinny bundle.

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REUTERS/Steve Marcus
REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Since rumors about Apple's TV attempts are in their ebb phase, now it's time for Google to take the stage. In a pattern that seems very familiar, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and CNBC that Google has cut a deal with CBS to include its channels in a streaming "skinny bundle." The rumored service is apparently planned for launch in 2017 under the name "Unplugged." While Apple's long-rumored service has yet to appear, we have seen similar efforts appear in the form of Dish Network's Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and the upcoming DirecTV Now.

The unnamed media executives that have apparently heard the pitch say Google wants to offer a bundle priced between $25 and $40 per month, that's separate from YouTube, although execs from that company are overseeing the project. Fox and Disney/ABC are said to be in negotiations as well, while the WSJ report mentions that one sticking point has been YouTube's desire to add data overlays (like sports stats) to the channels it's streaming.

Of course, negotiations between tech companies and the entertainment industry can be difficult, and the latest Apple rumors suggest it will go in a different direction entirely. If the service is meant to launch in the first quarter, then maybe we'll hear more about it at CES in January.That could be particularly poetic, since at CES 2006, CBS exec Les Moonves joined Larry Page -- Google co-founder and current CEO of its parent company Alphabet -- to announce a content partnership for Google Video.

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