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January 05, 2009

Samsung, Yahoo to Bring PC-Like Experience to HDTVs

Seeking to capitalize on what researchers call a robust IPTV (News - Alert) market, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, a South Korean consumer electronics leader today announced that it’s teaming up with Yahoo! Inc. to offer a new Internet-based service.

Officials at Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. say that in the spring of this year, some of their flat-panel HDTVs will be powered by Yahoo’s so-called “Widget Engine,” a platform that helps watchers interact with their sets.
According to Boo-Keun Yoon, executive vice president of Samsung’s (News - Alert) visual display division, the company has been an innovator in Internet-enabled TV technology at least since releasing its InfoLink service last year.
“There’s no denying that the easy-to-use, one-touch of the remote control service successfully provides information simply and effectively,” Yoon said. “The collaboration with Yahoo! lets viewers go one step further. This new interface allows them to interact and connect with many of their favorite Web services on a personal level. It’s frankly way beyond just passively watching broadcasts and is no doubt the future of TV.”
Specifically, TV Widgets are designed to make it easy to interact with Internet content and services to complement and enhance the traditional TV viewing experience. The technology is debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The Samsung-Yahoo collaboration could bring more variety to a market that’s poised to take off, researchers say, but which needs greater variety.
As TMCnet reported, one prominent IT industry research firm today is calling for a more aggressive marketing approach to capitalize on an increasingly popular IP-based television market in the Asia-Pacific region.
Officials at Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) say service providers must do more than simply market IPTV services as another part of their so-called “n-play” offerings.
According to Adeel Najam, a research analyst with the firm, telecom companies won’t attract cable and satellite TV subscribers unless they offer more content. Operators with broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second must offer IPTV to optimize their bandwidth capacity.
And yet, the research firm reported, “Due to slow progress of digital TV in China, the IPTV industry can develop with fairly wide window of opportunity. In the next three to five years, we predict that IPTV will face intense competition.”
With the new service, users will be able to track their stock portfolio and stay on top of headline news, but they may also browse through videos, share photos and interact with friends on their TVs. Users can access the service by connecting the HDTV to a home network via the built-in Ethernet port or using an optional WiFi (News - Alert) USB port.
The Samsung HDTVs with the Yahoo widget engine and TV widgets will be available in 13 nations in 2009, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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