Are TV Widgets a New Revenue Channel?

are tv widgets a new revenue channel widgetWhile today’s consumer is most likely to watch online video on the PC screen, manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and LG are offering widgets based on screen content that runs alongside your regular viewing.

TV widgets make it easy to interact with Internet content and offer services that complement and enhance traditional TV viewing — but industry experts say consumers are not looking for the Internet on their television sets.

Content partnerships are being made between Internet companies and content providers. For instance, Yahoo! accelerated its approach to Internet access on the TV through its widget platform by announcing new distribution partnerships with Hisense, ViewSonic, MIPS Technologies and Sigma Designs. New content partners include CNBC, NBC, RadioTime, The Weather Channel, Brightcove and others.

The Weather Channel widget, for example, allows viewers to access information on current conditions and five-day forecasts while CNBC’s widget allows viewers to interact with real-time stock quotes and create real-time watch lists.

ViewSonic plans to integrate Yahoo!s Widget Engine Platform into its media player while MIPS Technologies will develop an optimized reference platform running Yahoo!’s Widget Engine for digital TV and set-top box applications.

Yahoo says its new Widget Development Kit can be downloaded by anyone who wants “to create, deploy and monetize engaging TV widget experiences.”

In-Stat analyst Keith Nissen says one of the important questions is will the devices permit the user open access to the Internet via the TV.

“When you’re subscribing to Sony’s set of online video, (which you can get directly from a Sony TV set), they have various websites or content that is available, but you can’t go to any site but to whatever Sony has programmed in,” Nissen says. “I don’t think most PC users want the TV to be a PC.”

Nissen points out Over the Top (OTT) video delivered to the TV via broadband services is starting to take place. OTT services run over the top of an existing broadband service and are not controlled by the service provider. OTT video will not be taking off until providers offer content you can’t get on the Internet, he says.

“Sony, Disney, Fox and Comcast will look at this as a new distribution channel,” Nissen says. “They want a distribution channel to market directly to the end user and monetize it.”

Nissen mentions that while widgets are nice, they are not earning money. According to Nissen, 98 percent of TV widgets are free and the amount of money earned from widgets is less than 2 percent.

“It’s a technology that service providers have to have to be competitive but no one is expecting to make money on it,” he says. “We’ve found what people want from a widget, is they want it to be complementary to what they already have access too, it’s not a slam dunk and I don’t think that’s the end game.”

Alternatively, while Yahoo! talks up its new distribution partnerships for Yahoo! Widget Engine Platform, DivX launched its embedded Internet TV platform that provides access to a line-up of online media content streamed directly to any connected device from any manufacturer.

DivX, a pioneer in bringing high-quality Internet video to consumer electronics, says LG Electronics will be the first manufacturer to license the DivX TV platform. In addition, Advanced Digital broadcast, Bluestreak, Brightcove, Broadcom, Innovation DTV Solutions, Iomega and ViewSonic also signed on.

DivX says its platform can be supported on any kind of Internet-connected consumer electronics device, including digital televisions, Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, pay-TV operators set-top devices and mobile phones.

What’s more, Forrester Research found TV makers like LG, Samsung and Sony announced connected TV strategies that make consumer sense. “Enabled by tools like Yahoo! TV Widgets as well as IP-delivered services from, Blockbuster and Netflix, the connected TV is here to stay,” Forrester analyst James McQuivery says, “and millions will roll off production lines in 2010.”

Connecting the TV does not cut any existing players out of the picture, but instead, creates opportunities for content providers, advertisers, retailers and TV service providers to deepen their relationships with customers by serving their content needs, according to McQuivery.

While Internet users will stick to their PCs, widget technology looks to turn into an fascinating niche in the short term while browsing and watching content from the Internet might just be as easy as cable in the long term.

Product Review

Cut cable and keep quality with TiVo's 4K-friendly Bolt OTA DVR

Free over-the-air programming isn’t available in 4K, so why would you want a 4K OTA DVR? We’ll discuss what makes the new TiVo Bolt OTA a viable choice for cord-cutters with 4K UHD TVs who want to get ahead of the game.

Here are the best 4K TV deals for November 2018

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

PlayStation Vue adds more local channels, bringing the total to over 600

PlayStation Vue is Sony's answer to live TV without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. To help you understand the service, its plans, and numerous features, we've created this handy guide.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

LG price cuts on C8 OLED TVs for Black Friday are more of a sliver than a slash

LG cut prices on its vaunted C8 series OLED TVs, but the deals aren't as good as last year, and therefore are less compelling. Still, if you're in the market for a new TV this year, we still suggest giving these deals a serious look.
Home Theater

Looking for a podcast? Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project is just the ticket

Pandora has created a brand new service for podcast listeners. Powered by calls the Podcast Genome Project, the new podcast offering uses an advanced combination of algorithms and human curation to deliver the perfect podcasts for you.
Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Home Theater

BassFit wireless in-ear headphones bring low-end fuel to your workout

V-Moda's latest headphone offering is a set of banded Bluetooth in-ears called the BassFit, a sweat-proof, ultra-secure pair of headphones that are designed to bring low-end power to your next workout.

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…
Home Theater

You can get a top-tier Vizio P Series TV for a song this Black Friday

Vizio has announced a slew of Black Friday deals for those interested in new home theater offerings, but none are more enticing than the deals the company is running on its top-tier P-Series and P-Series Quantum TVs.