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Yahoo Announces Internet TV Plans

January 8, 2009

Yahoo Inc has announced its partnership with several electronics makers in an effort to blur the line of distinction between television sets and the Internet.

Yahoo made the announcement on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Confirmed partners include Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc, Sony Corp and Vizio, which will develop TV sets that carry Internet@TV, Yahoo’s online service.

The service will feature “widgets” ““ applications that carry out specific tasks such as check the weather, news, watch YouTube videos or check the status of an eBay auction. With Yahoo’s new service, users will be able to use the widgets from their TV screen.

The widgets will also allow viewers more interaction with the programs they’re watching, Yahoo said.

Third-party applications will also be allowed for use on Yahoo’s new service. Yahoo released the widget development kit for developers on Wednesday.

Yahoo, which has lagged behind larger rival Google in the Web search market, will use the technology as a new avenue to sell advertising, Reuters said.

Patrick Barry, vice president of connected TV at Yahoo, said TV “is still top of mind for advertisers,” so the move toward convergence of Internet and TV reflects Yahoo’s attempt to gain an edge over Google and earn ad revenue.

“In a lot of ways, these are two different worlds, but we believe that users are increasingly looking for more out of their media platforms,” said Barry.

During CES, Samsung, partner of Internet@TV, referred to a “seamless digital experience” around the home, announcing a range of devices that could wirelessly communicate with one another to stream music, photos and movies.

“Lifestyles change,” said Andy Griffiths, Samsung’s director of consumer electronics. “Consumers will be very excited by the experience of the internet on a 35in screen. It’s the first time they’ll have seen that.”

Toshiba Corp announced that it would be making TVs featuring the Yahoo online service that do run Intel’s CE 3100 processor.

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