NewTeeVee Live: Will Broadband TVs Connect With Consumers?

Matthew McRaeTelevisions are going to transition from having nice pictures to becoming smart, app-filled, interactive machines, Matthew McRae, VP and GM of Advanced Technology Products at Vizio, said at the NewTeeVee Live conference today in San Francisco. Vizio plans to ship a connected television in January of next year. The company has learned from mistakes made by previous broadband television makers, McRae said, and so has focused on creating a good user experience and a developer ecosystem akin to Apple’s (s aapl) App store.

To satisfy that developer ecosystem, the Vizio television will use Flash and the Yahoo (s yhoo) Widget platform to provide an easy way for programmers to build applications for the television. Vizio will integrate apps into the TV that can trump all things happening on the television, so tweets could interrupt a movie if the user wants them to, or an email could come through even when you are playing a game.

Vizio also spent time re-envisioning the remote. So the TV will ship with a two-way remote that has a QWERTY keyboard and Bluetooth. Vizio will also eventually develop a software-based remote that could be run using a consumer’s smartphone or other applicable device.

McRae then turned to prediction, saying that we will see a new generation of technologies targeting the television, such as 3-D or ultra high def. He also expects that Internet TV will become the primary source of content on the television as opposed to pay TV. However, the TV may never become a replacement for the PC when it comes to surfing the web. McCrae says he’s trying to keep the television application focused, rather than deliver a browser inside the TV. In his opinion, a TV-specific web browser and a better remote control will be necessary before we browse the web on the TV. He also predicts that the distribution of consumer electronics like TVs will consolidate. “Wal-Mart will become more like a Best Buy and get smarter about how they sell electronics,” he said.

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