Samsung and Yahoo have decided to expand their TV partnership. Samsung announced today that it plans to sell Yahoo Connected TVs in 26 more countries across Europe, raising the total number to 39. Under the deal, Samsung sells TVs with an operating system full of Yahoo software widgets, giving TV viewers access to much of the media company’s online content without actually browsing the web. Samsung and Yahoo are betting that people don’t want the full internet “crammed” into their large, high resolution HDTV sets.
“We don’t think people want the whole Web browser experience crammed in a TV,” said Yahoo senior director of Connect TV marketing Russ Schafer to the AFP. “It is a best-of-the-Web not all-of-the-Web comparison; which is similar to how people consume television.”
He may be right, at least until people know what browsing the full web is like on a TV. Samsung posted a 17 percent rise in profits last Friday. The company is the largest producer of flat-screen TVs and memory chips in the world. Sony, Vizio, Toshiba, and LG have also added Yahoo widgets into their televisions since Samsung announced its deal in 2009.
Shafer is confident that the company is in a good position to face new rivals like Apple and Google. “Apple TV, at one end of the spectrum has a very simple interface, limited offerings but deep content that is very connected to other devices in the Apple ecosystem,” Schafer said. “Google, on the other side, wants to take the PC experience in the browser and put it in the TV. We fit right in the middle.”
No browser for you
Instead of a full Internet browser, Samsung is opting to have dozens, perhaps hundreds of widgets customers can download and install on their TV, like a smartphone. However, even smartphones have Internet browsers, so why not include a full Internet browser for those who are interested?
“People can’t even go through 120 channels on cable,” Schafer said. “Do you think they will go through 120,000 websites? People want video and social networking.”
He’s right, if only the Internet had some kind of engine for searching and finding websites…ah well. Until Samsung stops bowing to pressure from TV networks and cable companies, Yahoo Connect TV will have to do.