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Samsung TVs to Pack Yahoo Widget Engine

Samsung TVs to Pack Yahoo Widget Engine

Consumer electronics giant Samsung has announced that it plans a new line-up of HDTV televisions that will be able to access Internet content via the Yahoo Widget Engine. Dubbed "Internet@TV," the technology will enable lightweight Javascript and XML applications to reside on users televisions and tap into Internet-based content, information, and social services right from a television remote control. The company is showing the televisions at CES 2009, and says the units should be available internationally by spring 2009.

As examples of widget-powered content, Samsung cites staying on top of stock portfolios and headlines news, tracking eBay auctions, accessing video and photo sharing services like Flickr and YouTube, as well as accessing Yahoo’s own weather, financial, and news services.

Users will need to connect the televisions to their in-home broadband-enabled network, either via an integrated Ethernet port of via an optional Wi-Fi enabled USB dongle.

"There’s no denying that the easy-to-use, one-touch of the remote control service successfully provides information simply and effectively," said Boo-Keun Yoon, executive VP for Samsung’s Visual Display Division, in a statement. "The collaboration with Yahoo lets viewers go one step further. This new interface allows them to interact and connect with many of their favorite Web services on a personal level. It’s frankly way beyond just passively watching broadcasts and is no doubt the future of TV."

The companies say the Yahoo Widget platform is open to third party developers, in theory enabling programmers to build and deploy Widgets for televisions using Yahoo’s Widget Development Kit. Yahoo and Samsung have promised to nurture and ecosystem of Widget developers, although its not clear how developers could distribute Widgets for use on Samsung’s televisions: the companies have not announced an equivalent of an "App Store" for televisions widgets, or detailed any distribution mechanisms. Obviously, security, privacy, and malware threats all need to be taken into consideration.