Back in October, Yahoo made the bold choice of releasing more features, like an open strategy platform. Now it's starting 2009 by bringing Internet content to TV.
Though attempted unsuccessfully by others before, analysts say Yahoo's efforts are "fortuitous". Announced in Las Vegas at CES, Yahoo introduced a range of televisions and related products loaded with software— developed by Yahoo and Intel — that would let users call up popular web pages and tools right alongside programs they're watching on TV.
Although they demonstrated their innovation in August, called TV Widgets, they used the interactive and exploratory venue of CES to announce partners and additional TV-friendly sites and other tools.
Bringing Together Two Popular Pastimes
By engaging users on the web via TV, Yahoo aims to bring together the two popular pastimes: watching television with your laptop. With almost 20 different widgets available soon, TV Widgets offer users scaled down versions of popular Web pages and applications rather than full-blown sites.
From Yahoo's own weather and stock guides to applications created by a range of outside developers, including such social media sites as Twitter and MySpace, and news outlets like The New York Times, many of which will be preloaded into store-bought TVs, an online Widget Gallery will let viewers pick and choose new applications to download.
Users can expect TV Widgets to be installed in select broadband-capable high-definition televisions and set-top boxes made by Samsung, Sony, VIZIO and LG, which are scheduled to ship in the spring.
A Focus on Relevant Content
Acknowledging the significant differences between computers and television, Yahoo is careful not to confuse the needs of each. Instead they are focused on providing web content relevant to the television content, things that audience members may find helpful to their viewing experience.
While Yahoo may have struggled to find its niche in 2008, their bold attempt to capitalize on the need for innovation may serve to elevate Yahoo to new heights in 2009.