Yahoo Connected TV Widget Store Delayed


Back in November, Yahoo announced their intention to expand their Connected TV platform beyond television manufacturer curated widgets into a full fledged app store. The plan was set to go live in March. Well, here we are. And the schedule’s been blown:

It’s not clear at this point when the store will be open for consumers.

Mari’s prescient Yahoo TV post headline out of CES sums it up: “Falling for Yahoo Again, Knowing Heartbreak Ahead”. Good ideas are not enough. Timely execution and partner support are also requisite.

As the owner of a Yahoo Connected TV, my initial excitement (Netflix, Vudu, weather!) has been replaced by fear and loathing. I don’t know if I should be directing my ire towards Vizio or Yahoo, but any potential gain I might have received from integrated Internet widgets has been offset by platform unreliability. As in: my television has a predisposition to reboot while accessing apps. Adding insult to injury, when the TV manages to stay up, half my widgets say the network is unavailable… contradicted by the other half that report no issues. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. From GigaOm:

Here’s something I didn’t imagine when I hooked up my brand-new Vizio XVT553SV TV last week: It crashed. Again. And again. And again. The culprit? Turns out the “smart” Internet apps made my television really dumb.

While I have no intention of returning my Vizio, as Chris did, I no longer even pull up the widget bar to check the weather. The risk/reward ratio just isn’t favorable. In fact, even Vizio seems to have given up on Yahoo and intends to leverage Google TV going forward.

16 thoughts on “Yahoo Connected TV Widget Store Delayed”

  1. I prefer a TV be a monitor and that I hook up boxes to provide the source material. Your tale of woe adds support to my bias.

    If my Roku, TiVo, Apple TV, DVD player, or computer misbehaves I can use something else or replace it. If the TV misbehaves I’m scrod.

  2. “I prefer a TV be a monitor and that I hook up boxes to provide the source material. Your tale of woe adds support to my bias.”

    Agreed. Keep ’em separated.

    An LCD panel should last 5+ years. Why would I want rapidly obsoleted computer platforms, (even if they work in the first place), built into my panel?

    At best they’ll soon be useless. At worst, they’ll muck up the functionality of my panel.

  3. For what it’s worth, I’ve had 0 problems with the widgets on my vizio vf552xvt. I figured I’d never use them when I bought the tv, but I’ve seen a pair of updates since I bought it bring an improved netflix widget, as well as a hulu+ one. The netflix client is _way_ better than the one on my tivo premiere to boot.

  4. Well, I’ve got a VIZIO XVT373SV being delivered today. Wish me luck. It will have three ways to stream Netflix movies – Wii, Panasonic Blu-Ray, and the TV. (Plus, I could hook up my laptop via VGA.) It’s looking like the Wii will be the most reliable and best interface, but without the option of HD.

  5. While I never had an issue with Yahoo! widgets crashing/rebooting my Samsung TV, the widget screen itself and the various widgets themselves took entirely too long to load. Moreover, movement within and between widgets does not execute smoothly. Until there are some significant improvements, I don’t believe stand alone devices such as Roku, Apple TV etc. have anything to worry about.

  6. My Samsung TV has apps, and for something long form like a Vudu video rental, I have rarely launched them. And they certainly don’t crash. But the experience is less than stellar–navigation is slow, the UI is poor, etc. I find it an acceptable option that I wouldn’t pay extra for, and will abandon easily. You just don’t press the APPS button anymore at some point I would guess. I certainly wouldn’t go near it for anything that was an actual ‘widget’ like weather or traffic or whatever. Too clunky and slow. Sorry, I have a smartphone and laptops that are a million times better at this.

    Still, the Samsung apps aren’t an actual negative wrt buying a Samsung phone, which sounds like its better than Vizio/Yahoo…

  7. I think that the internet connected TVs with their widgets and what-not (and I have one – didn’t buy the TV because of it) are silly ‘checkbox’ items for the side of the box / ads. As in, “Look honey, this one has more features…” when, in reality, those features (widgets) will be cumbersome, rarely updated, and poorly supported.

    Worse, in about two years people will be saying, “Hey, remember when the TV manufacturers were putting in all of those crazy widgets??” and someone else will answer, “Oh, yeah.. I think my TV has them… Let me check… Yep – look at that. Doesn’t work but I can see that they’re there.”

  8. I kind of like the Weather widget on my Sony 52″ XBR but I LOSE all my personal cities whenever the widget updates to a new version. LAME!!!

  9. I am like you all and want a monitor I can hook things to. However we are a skewed sample since we are reading about gadgets in the first place. I have many smart neighbors who have no inclination to get a Roku or likely even know what one is.
    For that significant market segment these built in features will be really cool after I explain you simply get this kind of wire and run it from that internet box thingy over to the TV.

  10. “I am like you all and want a monitor I can hook things to. However we are a skewed sample since we are reading about gadgets in the first place. I have many smart neighbors who have no inclination to get a Roku or likely even know what one is.”

    As Harry Dean Stanton said in the quite delightful Repo Man, “Look at ’em, ordinary f*cking people, I hate ’em.”

  11. Chucky is less misanthropic than the Harry Dean Stanton character. I’d just say, “Meh. Civilians.”

  12. As a follow up, Vizio’s PR company reached out and very kindly offered to get me some help with my set and app issues.

    I declined for the moment – I’ve factory reset the Vizio several times at this point. Re-entering my network, Yahoo, and app (Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Pandora) credentials multiple times via a standard remote is just too painful to tackle yet again. But I’ll check again in a month or two with hopes that platform has stabilized. And, as others have mentioned, perhaps the interface and speed will also improve.

    But it doesn’t matter so much to me… as this TV is destined for my basement lab/office, powered by other Internet-connected set-top boxes for blog experiments.

  13. I wish all these boxes would take advantage of HDMI CEC to AUTOMATICALLY switch the TV’s inputs when you turned them on/hit play, and then switched the TV back when you turned them off. One of the big drawbacks to all these ‘second input’ boxes is having to cycle through the inputs slowly with that one button on the remote, wait for the on screen display to disappear, etc. If I could just hit the AirPlay icon on my iPhone and the Apple TV would automatically take over the TV, that would be much easier for the average person to deal with.

  14. Ugh, TV still rebooting. In the past, it was only triggered while fiddling in the menus and widgets. But now it’s rebooted during television viewing with no interaction at all. Was down several minutes. Just awful. Going to remove it from the wireless LAN, see if that provides any relief.

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