Wednesday announced plans for the Widget Channel, a television application framework optimized for TV and related consumer electronics devices.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) said the channel "will allow consumers to enjoy rich Internet applications designed for the TV while watching their favorite TV programs" and will be powered by the Yahoo Widget Engine, a fifth-generation applications platform.
Yahoo-branded TV widgets "will enable consumers to engage in a variety of experiences such as watching videos, tracking their favorite stocks or sports teams, interacting with friends, or staying current on news and information," the companies said.
"TV will fundamentally change how we talk about, imagine and experience the Internet," said Eric Kim, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the company's Digital Home Group. "No longer just a passive experience unless the viewer wants it that way, Intel and Yahoo are proposing a way where the TV and Internet are as interactive and seamless as possible.
The companies said they are also working to promote the development of "open and consistent standards necessary to grow the TV widget ecosystem."
Sunnyvale, CA (AHN) - Internet company Yahoo and chipmaking giant Intel Wednesday unveiled a joint effort to bring PC widget to the television screen. The service, called the Widget Channel, will offer TV viewers a series of widgets for weather, eBay activity, or YouTube videos along the bottom of the television screen.
The project,using Yahoo software and Intel microchips, has already gained the backing of media and hardware companies. Comcast, Disney, Toshiba and Motorola are among the system's early backers.
Unlike previous attempts to meld PC interactivity with television content, the Yahoo-Intel plan confines the information to a strip along the left side of TV screens.
Comcast reportedly will start testing the system within the first six months of 2009 with the cable giant expecting other cable providers to follow. Intel said retailers will start selling set-top boxes next year enabling TV viewers to use current hardware and Internet connections to use the system - even if not supported by their TV service provider.
Already, Sony and Microsoft are selling products allowing consumers to play online games using TV sets. Analysts say such offerings will make for a difficult competitive landscape when Yahoo and Intel launch the Widget Channel in 2009.