Yahoo! Brings The Internet to Your Living Room

Posted by at 9:00 pm on January 7, 2009

 

Yahoo!’s Connected TV group today unveiled the next generation of technology and services for Internet-connected televisions. The company has forged partnerships with top CE manufacturers to launch a widget-based user experience for TV that brings the best of the Web to a broad range of living room devices. Powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, these devices will enable the discovery and enjoyment of the Cinematic Internet via a new class of interactive applications called TV Widgets. TV Widgets enable popular Internet services and online media to reach viewers with applications specifically tailored to the needs of the television watcher.

In August, Yahoo! and Intel announced the Widget Channel, their joint initiative to foster innovation in the connected TV space. Building on that initiative, Yahoo! is announcing partnerships with top consumer electronics manufacturers including Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and VIZIO. Products produced by these partnerships will enable the industry to bring an innovative Internet and TV experience to millions of consumers globally, starting as early as the spring of 2009. Reinforcing Yahoo!’s open strategy, the company today, in partnership with Intel, released the Widget Development Kit (WDK). This will enable developers to create TV Widgets  to effectively reach consumers and help foster the creation of a connected TV ecosystem.

“Yahoo! has combined key attributes of the Internet, including openness, community, and personalization, with the power of television,” said Patrick Barry, vice president, Connected TV, Yahoo!. “By creating this revolutionary new Internet experience, and combining our technology with the global distribution of major consumer electronics partners, we enable consumers to access the relevant information and content to enhance their television watching experience.”

“Consumers are increasingly looking for a richer TV experience, including the ability to integrate personalized Internet content and interactive experiences on the screen,” said Allen Weiner, Research VP, Gartner. “Those companies who succeed as leading TV 2.0 portals will be those well positioned to make the connected TV a reality through strong global partnerships, innovative technology and expertise in creating open platforms. Developers will have the tools to bring the best of the Internet to TV, thus increasing the amount of Internet-enabled content and services available and ultimately transforming the TV viewing experience for millions of consumers.”

The Yahoo! Widget Engine is based on the popular Konfabulator widget platform for PC, which has been re-engineered specifically for consumer electronics devices. In August 2008, Yahoo! and Intel announced a partnership providing the Internet’s developers and publishers with the tools needed to create exciting and engaging interactive TV Widgets. Starting today, Yahoo! and Intel will make a robust Widget Development Kit (WDK) available to developers, CE manufacturers, advertisers and content publishers.

This WDK takes advantage of industry standard tools, including JAVASCRIPT, XML and H L, making it easy to rapidly develop and deploy TV Widgets based upon popular Internet services. Developers will use the WDK to create TV Widgets that leverage a rich set of programming interfaces called the Widget Channel API. Along with popular Yahoo! properties — including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! Video, Yahoo! Finance and Flickr, well-known content providers are already developing and planning to deploy TV Widgets, including eBay, MySpace, CBS, The New York Times, Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, Showtime, USA TODAY and Twitter, among others. Many of these widgets are being demonstrated at CES and may be available on retail devices in the coming months. For more about integration between Yahoo! Widgets and MySpace please see this  Test ToT post.  For a complete list of all TV widgets in the Yahoo! Widget Engine, please see http://connectedtv.yahoo.com/newsroom.

Yahoo! will enable an ecosystem of developers, publishers, device makers and advertisers that will benefit consumers by bringing the Cinematic Internet to life. The availability of the WDK and the Yahoo! Widget Engine, as well as the distribution partnerships and developer relationships announced today, form a strong foundation for the next generation of Internet connected TVs.

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