Internet Applications Are Coming to a Television Set Near You

Dennis Faas's picture

Intel and Yahoo have once again blurred the boundaries between Internet and television with the recent introduction of web-style applications that can be accessed on a television set.

Intel revealed their new "system on a chip" designed to be implemented in electronic devices like set-top boxes and digital television receivers. Yahoo will then provide a software platform that will allow small programs or applications (also called "widgets") to run on these devices.

Widgets are not a new concept by any means. In the past, Yahoo has provided many software platforms that have allowed developers to create widgets on desktop computers and mobile phones. However, the widget system proposed by Intel and Yahoo will mark the first time web-style applications will appear on television screens.

What are widgets used for?

Widgets can be used to receive online news feeds, watch videos on YouTube or listen to music on iTunes.

Accessing television applications will require users to click over to the all-new "Widgets Channel". Imagine purchasing items on eBay with a remote instead of a keyboard or accessing the sports scores you want without having to wait for the ESPN "sports ticker" to finish showing every single result from around the league (or country, for that matter). (Source:

Of course, users can expect the first batch of television applications to reflect Yahoo affiliates like Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, and Flickr.

Although it appears a great investment for Yahoo, the widget system may provide Intel with the greater payoff. If companies wish to cash in on the service, they will have to agree to the terms issued by Intel, since it is currently the only company providing the technology used to run the widget system.

Analysts predict that the system will perform well, especially since major electronics and media companies like Blockbuster, CBS, Samsung Electronics, and Toshiba have all expressed interest in the venture. (Source:

While some bugs still need to be worked out, both Intel and Yahoo remain confident that the widget system will be ready for home distribution sometime in 2009.

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