Sure we’ve started seeing a crop of “Connected HDTVs” making the news this month, but the real winner here is the Yahoo! Widget Engine and Intel’s system-on-a-chip (Media Processor CE 3100) which provides the TV’s processing power to handle all the various interactive media application services. In other words, all future HDTVs supporting TV Widgets powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine will have the ability to tap into the same services – through a broadband wired or wireless connection – currently provided by eBay, MySpace, CBS, The New York Times, Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, CinemaNow, Showtime, USA TODAY, Pandora, Rhapsody, Twitter, Flickr, and Yahoo! News / Weather / Video / Finance. In addition, Intel and Yahoo! have announced that they are now providing a Widget Development Kit (WDK) to interested developers, CE manufactures, advertisers, and content publishers. Comcast has also developed proof-of-concept TV Widgets for tru2way capable HDTVs in order to create a richer Comcastic set-top-less environment. Something tells me this is going to be big.
My only beef is that each manufacture is branding the “TV Widget” feature with their own catchy name that may – or should I say will – confuse customers when they try and make a selection.
Initial crop of Connected HDTVs supporting Yahoo! TV Widgets:
- Samsung Internet@TV [Spring 2009 – PR Announcement]
- VIZIO Connected TV [Fall 2009 – PR Announcement] * With built-in 802.11n
- Sony XBR9 Z-series [Spring 2009 – PR Announcement] * Includes DLNA / UPnP!
- LG HDTV with NetCast Entertainment Access [2009 - PR Announcement] * With PC Content Sharing
- Toshiba [2nd half of 2009 - PR Announcement] * Includes Extender for Windows Media Center!
Widget application summary snippets from VIZIO’s PR:
Accedo Broadband (www.accedobroadband.com)– Accedo’s popular casual gaming service, Funspot®, allows viewers to play a variety of fun games from the comfort of their favorite armchair. Games include Texas Hold Em Poker, Sudoku, and QuizzMaster.
Adobe (www.adobe.com/flashplatform) – Adobe Flash™ Player and Adobe Flash Lite are on over 98 percent of connected computers and more than 800 million devices, and deliver more than 80 percent of Web videos worldwide. Both players are part of the Adobe Flash Platform and ensure that content and applications are presented consistently in the format users want.
Amazon Video on Demand (www.amazon.com/vod) – Amazon Video On Demand plans to make its massive selection of over 40,000 movies and TV shows available to users of VIZIO’s “Connected HDTV” Platform, providing users with the total on demand entertainment solution. Using the VIZIO television’s built-in Internet connection, Amazon Video On Demand plans to give customers the ability to browse, shop and instantly watch everything from hit new release movies to classic movie favorites and individual TV episodes and seasons.
Blockbuster OnDemand (www.blockbuster.com) – One of the nation’s leading digital movie services, BLOCKBUSTER ONDEMAND makes thousands of titles, including the newest releases, available for rental and purchase. The service is available on an a la carte basis, no subscription necessary, and includes content from the major Hollywood studios as well as more than 30 other studios, television-content distributors and foreign and independent content providers.
Flickr (www.flickr.com) – Flickr, a Yahoo! company, is one of the world’s leading online photo and video sharing communities where people explore, find and manage pictures and video clips of life’s daily moments with friends, family and the world. The Flickr TV Widget helps users make their favorite photo content available to the people who matter to them. Consumers can view, share and organize photos with friends and family or check out what interesting new photos were recently posted by others — all in the social setting of the living room on their large flat panel television.
Netflix (www.netflix.com) – Since launching its streaming functionality in January 2007, Netflix has grown its catalog to more than 12,000 choices of movies and TV episodes to watch instantly on the TV via a number of Netflix ready devices. Netflix members pay as little as $8.99 per month for unlimited instant streaming and unlimited DVDs from a catalog of more than 100,000 DVD titles in more than 200 genres.
Pandora (www.pandora.com) – Based on the Music Genome Project begun in 2000, Pandora’s personalized Internet radio and music discovery service delivers personalized playlists built from a database with over 550,000 songs analyzed by more than 30 trained musicians and assessed against nearly 400 distinct musical attributes.
Rhapsody (www.rhapsody.com) – Rhapsody’s award-winning digital music service gives consumers access to more than six million songs on their PC, on their portable device and in the home. Now, VIZIO “Connected HDTV”-enabled users will have living room access as well to Rhapsody’s extensive music catalog, professionally programmed music channels, personalized recommendations and thousands of themed playlists.
Yahoo! — Yahoo! provides the best of the Internet in perfect harmony with the simplicity and reliability of the television. The innovative Yahoo! Widget Engine, which will help drive VIZIO’s “Connected HDTV” Platform, will offer VIZIO customers an enhanced viewing experience by bringing to market a new class of interactive applications called TV Widgets. Initial Yahoo! TV Widgets available will include Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! News, and Yahoo! Finance, soon to be followed by Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Video. Yahoo! Video puts a wide range of news, sports, lifestyle, and entertainment video content in one place for users to enjoy on their TV via the Internet. Additional well-known content providers already developing TV Widgets for deployment include CBS, Showtime®, TwitterTM, The New York Times®and MySpace®.
Tags: Amazon, CES 2009, CinemaNow, Intel, LG, Netflix, Samsung, Sony, tru2way, VIZIO, Yahoo!, Yahoo! TV Widget Engine
Filed in: Content Providers, Industry Buzz, Streaming Media Devices