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Summary:

Intel and Yahoo announced today they are teaming up to try and make television interactive. Yahoo will manage a widget library for Intel’s OEM partners that will include social, informational and personalized add-ons for TV. Columnist Michael Wolf has the story on NewTeeVee. The announcement is […]

Intel and Yahoo announced today they are teaming up to try and make television interactive. Yahoo will manage a widget library for Intel’s OEM partners that will include social, informational and personalized add-ons for TV. Columnist Michael Wolf has the story on NewTeeVee.

The announcement is a bit like deja vu, since Yahoo and Intel for the last two years have offered a neat little integration for keeping track of your fantasy football league and watching the game on your big screen. But it’s been a lot longer than two years that people have been trying and failing to make TV interactive. There are some companies, like ActiveVideo Networks, that have been trucking along trying to make it happen for 10 years now.

Even online, content and interaction often seem like oil and water. At one time we thought Internet TV service Joost would be able to stand out because it opened up its API to widget developers. No such luck — turns out having the best content and making it easy to get to are way more important. I like where live-chat efforts from companies like Lycos and Paltalk are going, but they’re not there yet (see NewTeeVee coverage). On a more basic level, even YouTube is adding Pop-Up Video-like annotation features.

It’s possible we’ve evolved past the need for interaction in one place; we all have our laptops and phones out when we watch TV anyways. But I think there’s still some opportunity to do this right. Yahoo and Intel may have pretty good timing with this announcement given that only now are people starting to use their PCs and TVs for consuming content more interchangeably. An iPhone App Store-like product for TVs? Now that wouldn’t be so bad. Extending Google’s Android open platform to set-top boxes? That seems like it will actually happen too. What do you think?

  1. I am OK with widgets on my TV if it enhances my viewing experience.

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  2. Take a look at the AT&T IPTV service. We just switched from Comcast to give it a try.., so far really nice.

    It has already brought this concept to the living room. You get sport scores, stock ticker, Flickr integration…, all on the tv via an interactive bar as they call it.

    They have an nice little web interface to set your teams, stocks, flickr account, etc

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  3. Yes, I do want widgets on my TV. Just imagine flipping to one channel and seeing the weather, your stocks, scores of all of your favorite sports teams, and any other information that you want at a glance.
    Yes, bring it on baby!

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  4. Only if it’s done right — not in-your-face and you must be able to turn it off when you want. I usually turn my TV on when I want some brainless entertainment and a break from all of the “interaction” I get in the rest of my life.

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  5. Not from Yahoo. They have been failing at too many things to trust with my precious TV screen.

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  6. Call me cranky, but the last thing I want to do after I plop on the couch is “interact” with my TV. What I’d really like to see Comcast do is spend some money on improving its pathetic search screens, which make Microsoft Bob look brilliant by comparison.

    Fix the potholes before you try to build the new superhighway, says the Comcast customer who just got an AT&T U-verse advert in the mailbox today.

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  7. damn iPhone connection drops!

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  8. I like the idea

    and it will only get better

    i also think apple would have a huge hit if they opened an app store and a sdk for AppleTV.

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  9. Just a note on the Lycos Cinema “Watch & Chat” feature that Liz mentions. While the catalogue of movie and TV series on Lycos Cinema is growing and building an audience, the platform has already seen some breakout hits. Most notable are ABC Family’s series Greek, Kyle XY and most recently The Secret Life of the American Teenager, all of which have seen impressive numbers of simultaneous users watching and chatting. The demographic for these shows is clearly teenagers. So while online video/chat platforms will continue to evolve, the Lycos Cinema chat system appears to be working really well for this teenage audience so far.

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  10. [...] And Yes Liz – I want widgets on my TV. [...]

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  11. [...] Be a TV.” But most of the readers that responded to our query about whether people really wanted widgets on their TVs said yes, and preliminary research from TDG earlier this year echoes that sentiment. According to [...]

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