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Yahoo Expands Widget Availability With Sony, But Google TV Looms

There’s good news and bad news for Yahoo’s (s YHOO) TV Widgets. The good news is that Sony (s SNE) is expanding the number of markets where those widgets are available nearly seven-fold. The bad news is that Yahoo partner Sony is also spearheading the introduction of a competing platform by Google (s GOOG).

Yahoo announced today that its TV widgets will soon be available on Sony Bravia LCD TVs in more than 100 countries around the world, a nearly seven-fold increase over the number of markets that they are available in now. With Yahoo TV Widgets on their TVs, customers can get access to thousands of content sources for news, weather, sports and social networking, as well as over-the-top movies, TV shows and other Internet content.

The only problem is that Google also wants to make Internet content available through connected TVs and other devices, and plans to do so with the help of Sony. The search giant introduced Google TV at its I/O conference last month, with Sony as its first major CE partner to introduce connected TVs and Blu-ray players that leverage the new TV operating system.

The good news for Yahoo TV Widgets is that in the short term, adoption of Google TV might be limited, in part due to higher prices expected for CE products that run the Google OS. Because they require a more expensive processor and dedicated RAM, Google TV-enabled TVs and other devices are expected to be sold at a premium to other connected TVs. Some CE makers — like Panasonic — have shied away from the system altogether, saying it is too expensive.

All that said, Yahoo TV Widgets aren’t just tied to Sony. Samsung, LG, Vizio and HiSense also have embedded Yahoo Widgets into their connected TVs. In addition, Yahoo has partnered with chipmakers like MIPS Technologies, Sigma Designs and OEM partners like ViewSonic to embed the widget platform on broadband-connected set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other devices that connect to the TV.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: TV Apps: Evolution from Novelty to Mainstream (subscription required)