Yahoo’s Internet TV Widget Platform

Dave Zatz —  January 19, 2009

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The biggest story of CES, given our focus here at ZNF, was the unveiling of Yahoo’s Internet TV platform. Of course, just as meaningful as the technology itself, are the multiple heavy hitting partners signed to deploy it beginning this spring. While the press release boasts an impressive array of Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio… the Yahoo rep also told me Toshiba and Comcast (!) are on board. And several of these manufacturers (Vizio, LG, Samsung) trumpeted a variety of compelling widgets including Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Rhapsody, YouTube, and Flickr in Vegas. The first HDTV to hit will be from Samsung, and television manufacturers will determine what content options are available through their catalog.

For such a new offering, which I played with at Yahoo’s PEPCOM table and in Vizio’s Wynn conference room, I was quite impressed with the visual polish and speed of the widget bar. 2009 is indeed the year that Internet content arrives on televisions of the mainstream consumer. However, as folks don’t generally pick up new HDTVs on an annual basis, the dedicated Internet video-on-demand box (Roku, VuNow, Blockbuster 2Wire, etc) may not quite be dead.

10 responses to Yahoo’s Internet TV Widget Platform

  1. I have a new 46 in Panny with their Viera cast. So far there’s not much there, but I’m hoping that will change soon. The only thing that I’ve used it for is a firmware update and to see how much snow was on the way.

  2. It’s not just a pure service? You have to have a special TV?

    Beyond lame!

    I’ll bet anyone a beer a do-it-yourself kit gets issued from Yahoo so we can have this with buying a new $5,000.00 TV.

  3. @Todd, if you did not have an internet connected TV, like me, then you would need some sort of hardware box. For me, that box is a computer, but this solution takes out the need for another STB.
    To me this sure does look nice.

  4. Todd, xdreamwalker is correct. Without an Internet-connected television you don’t have many options to run this. It may be possible some existing or older TVs could receive firmware updates, but in terms of manufacturers allocating resources I bet most will want you to buy new TVs. Yahoo and Intel have also demo-ed a little prototype (?) box. I suppose that could be offered as a retail accessory to “retrofit” existing television, but I’m not sure if it’s headed to market (and by whom).

    I’m pretty fired up, but the well rounded Vizio model (802.11n, Netflix, QWERTY remote) isn’t schedule to drop until this summer. I’m hoping a unified platform like this accelerates Internet video into the living room. And can you imagine a tru2way HDTV with this? It could be boxless Nirvana…

    Interestingly, the consolidated Yahoo Connected Home unit also displays the Y! TiVo HME apps. Although this new widget engine/bar would be so much better.

  5. If you could squeeze a PVR into a tru2way tv with internet video, that would truly be boxless nirvana. I can’t wait.

  6. I’ll keep my Tivo! – Yahoo – thanks though for thinking of this, but I just purchased a new TV, it’s going to be a while before I would even consider this feature as something I would need. I’ll have it on my Tivo long before I would buy a new TV.

    John G.

  7. This internet/tv convergence is going to found in ‘set top boxes’ much more often than built directly into a tv. So you wouldn’t need a new or special HDTV for the product.
    Future blu-ray players, cable boxes, tivo/dvr boxes etc will have this tech incorporated. (this is basically what intel showed off)

  8. As long as it’s built into boxes we already have or boxes we want (like a Blu-ray player or cable box, as you say), it’s fine. But enough of these dedicated Vudu-esque boxes.

    By the way, I also swung by Intel’s booth and spoke to Glenn Cochran of the Digital Home Group – shot some pics. Will have to hit that at some point as well, including their reference design for a tru2way cable DVR (which was branded Samsung, as well as some unbranded stuff and models destined for or deployed in Europe).

  9. Yahoo Widgets has major memory leaks on the PC desktop. If they are using the same platform for the TV, I’m worried that these widgets are going to crash my TV. Perhaps they feel that people don’t keep their TVs on for significant lengths of time so that the increasing memory usage bugs in Yahoo Widgets are not a problem.

  10. I bet Vizio’s will be a lower price! and I can’t wait to see them out