Yahoo attempts to bridge gap between TV and the net

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 and effectively reach millions of consumers and help foster the creation of a connected TV ecosystem.

The TV Widget user experience, powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, will be available in a variety of products, including a line of Internet-connected television sets manufactured by Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and VIZIO and available in market as early as spring 2009. By working with the top consumer electronics manufacturers, Yahoo! will bring the exciting content developed by Yahoo! and third-party developers to millions of television sets in multiple countries in 2009.

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 HTML, 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. More information regarding the WDK is available at and

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.