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Philips Demoing Net TV – When Will Web TV Work On The Sofa?

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Approximately none of the electronics makers have so far developed a satisfactory product that brings web TV to the big plasma in the lounge (BBC’s Ashley Highfield called both Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) solutions “sub-optimal“). But that could be about to change, with Philips using Berlin’s IFA electronics market this week to demo “Net TV”…

Net TV is essentially a television with an IPTV chip built in. Philips is currently gathering partners for the on-screen portal, currently including Reuters, German film site and news website in its native Holland – those two countries the first to get the service, says broadbandtvnews: “The idea is that Philips will take a payment from each generated stream. Also, it will be possible to order movies and TV series as part of a VOD service, where the company expects a cut from the revenues.” More after the jump…

With such an array of video standards out there, accommodating each and every variant of internet video channel will be a challenge, even though the chip could theoretically be flashed with firmware updates to accommodate new standards. But then, Philips’ goal here seems to be to strike particular deals with a chosen few suppliers, rather than to provide open access to the wealth of video on the desktop web. If Philips built a device that could subscribe to videos from the gamut of producers – from the smallest vidcaster to the latest Rocketboom episode, from the my friends’ YouTube vids to the BBC News Channel – it would have a winner on its hands.

Though Net TV also promises access to web pages, like the semi-walled garden approach to video, and while Nintendo Wii is already showing full web pages to those on the sofa, Philips is using CEHTML, a variant of the web language crippled for telly. Evoking parallels with its old CD-i, Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) Bravia Internet Video Link and yesteryear’s Microsoft Web TV, Net TV is due out next year.

(Photo: inajkruse)