Yahoo spells out Connected TV plans

Yahoo’s vice-president of Connected TV Patrick Barry has revealed future plans for the company’s internet-on-the-TV service, four weeks after TV sets carrying the service launched in Europe.

Connected TV, which offers various internet applications via connected TV screens has approximately 10 so-called TV Widgets available from launch, the actual number varying by market, including Yahoo’s news and weather services, Flickr and Twitter. However, Barry told Digital TV Europe that he expected developers to take advantage of the service’s open source development platform to develop thousands of applications in the future.

He said major brands including YouTube and Facebook were currently developing applications and that individual developers would also be able to create applications easily using the company’s downloadable widget development kit, a version of which has been used to create between 4,000-5,000 Yahoo Widgets for desktop computers. “I would love there to be 100 [TV] widgets available by the end of the year and a thousand by the end of next year. There could be many more,” Barry said.  He said Yahoo wasn’t ready to allow access to the open internet via the service due to quality of experience issues but denied that the company was operating the service behind a ‘walled garden’.

Yahoo will retain control over which applications are made available, he said, but added that it was “mostly about retaining quality” and that anyone was free to develop widgets, including Yahoo’s rivals.

When questioned about the service’s similarities to Project Canvas, the BBC’s proposed service allowing internet content to be viewed on TVs, Barry said that, like Canvas, Yahoo Connected TV was about “making the experience of watching TV better and enabling developers to deliver new services.” But, he said, Yahoo had not yet discussed the technology behind Connected TV with Project Canvas.

Samsung, LG and Sony are amongst those with TV Widget-installed devices on the market and Yahoo expects a significant marketing push at the end of summer and in the run up to Christmas. Barry said TV manufacturers were looking for new innovations to take to market and that TV Widgets fulfilled that demand. “TVs have got bigger, thinner and the quality of high definition is great. Internet is the next frontier,” he said. He said the software behind Yahoo Connected TV could easily be used on other devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players, provided they could be connected to the internet.

When questioned about the business model for TV Widgets, Barry said it would  “most likely be the same as online – a combination of advertising and premium content”. He said it was likely that in the future developers would be able to charge for use of their widgets in a similar model to applications available on iPhones.  For now, Yahoo is focussing on building the number of applications available and the size of the user-base, Barry said.

Most Recent