Jan 6, 2009

Tech - Yahoo! bringing Internet to Samsung television sets

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Yahoo! and Samsung on Monday said they will put the California firm's software to work linking the South Korean electronics giant's televisions to the Internet.

New Samsung high-density flat-panel television models to be displayed this week at a premier Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will feature Yahoo! "widgets," mini applications which access Internet services.

Samsung televisions built with an "Internet@TV" content service will let viewers check online news or stock portfolios as well as see videos or pictures on the Web, according to the companies.

"Through this partnership, we can combine the Internet benefits of user choice and personalization with Samsung's leading product innovation and global reach to deliver a new experience to users around the world," said Yahoo!'s Connected TV vice president Patrick Barry.

The applications will let Samsung televisions link to Yahoo! properties including Flickr, News, Weather, and Finance as well as to websites such as YouTube, eBay, and Showtime.

Samsung already offers "Internet-enabled TV" technology and last year launched an "InfoLink" service that delivers news feeds from the publication USA Today to some sets in its line-up.

"The collaboration with Yahoo lets viewers go one step further," said Samsung Visual Display Division executive vice president Boo-Keun Yoon.

"This new interface allows them to interact and connect with many of their favorite Web services on a personal level. It's frankly way beyond just passively watching broadcasts and is no doubt the future of TV."

Samsung said it is using an open software platform so that outside developers can build custom applications viewers can install in its Internet-linked televisions as desired.

Pricing for the televisions was not revealed.

Samsung HDTVs with the Yahoo Widget Engine are to be available in about four months in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the United States.

The Samsung/Yahoo! announcement came on the same day as South Korea's LG Electronics and online movie rental giant Netflix revealed plans to market a broadband-enabled high-definition TV.

LG and Netflix said the "Broadband HDTVs" to go on sale this spring would have Netflix streaming software embedded in the TV, allowing users to stream movies directly from Netflix with no external device.

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