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.