LAS VEGAS, Jan 07, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
Yahoo!'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) Connected TV group today unveiled the next generation of technology and services for Internet-connected televisions. The company has forged partnerships with top CE manufacturers to launch a widget-based user experience for TV that brings the best of the Web to a broad range of living room devices. Powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, these devices will enable the discovery and enjoyment of the Cinematic Internet via a new class of interactive applications called TV Widgets. TV Widgets enable popular Internet services and online media to reach viewers with applications specifically tailored to the needs of the television watcher.
In August, Yahoo! and Intel announced the Widget Channel, their joint initiative to foster innovation in the connected TV space. Building on that initiative, Yahoo! is announcing partnerships with top consumer electronics manufacturers including Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and VIZIO. Products produced by these partnerships will enable the industry to bring an innovative Internet and TV experience to millions of consumers globally, starting as early as the spring of 2009. Reinforcing Yahoo!'s open strategy, the company today, in partnership with Intel, released the Widget Development Kit (WDK). This will enable developers to create TV Widgets and effectively reach millions of consumers and help foster the creation of a connected TV ecosystem.
"Yahoo! has combined key attributes of the Internet, including openness, community, and personalization, with the power of television," said Patrick Barry, vice president, Connected TV, Yahoo!. "By creating this revolutionary new Internet experience, and combining our technology with the global distribution of major consumer electronics partners, we enable consumers to access the relevant information and content to enhance their television watching experience."
YAHOO! WIDGET ENGINE TO POWER MILLIONS OF TV SETS FOR SAMSUNG, SONY, LG ELECTRONICS AND VIZIO
The TV Widget user experience, powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, will be available in a variety of products, including a line of Internet-connected television sets manufactured by Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and VIZIO and available in market as early as spring 2009. By working with the top consumer electronics manufacturers, Yahoo! will bring the exciting content developed by Yahoo! and third-party developers to millions of television sets in multiple countries in 2009.
"Consumers are increasingly looking for a richer TV experience, including the ability to integrate personalized Internet content and interactive experiences on the screen," said Allen Weiner, Research VP, Gartner. "Those companies who succeed as leading TV 2.0 portals will be those well positioned to make the connected TV a reality through strong global partnerships, innovative technology and expertise in creating open platforms. Developers will have the tools to bring the best of the Internet to TV, thus increasing the amount of Internet-enabled content and services available and ultimately transforming the TV viewing experience for millions of consumers."
BRINGING DEVELOPERS TO THE TV
The Yahoo! Widget Engine is based on the popular Konfabulator(R) widget platform for PC, which has been re-engineered specifically for consumer electronics devices. In August 2008, Yahoo! and Intel announced a partnership providing the Internet's developers and publishers with the tools needed to create exciting and engaging interactive TV Widgets. Starting today, Yahoo! and Intel will make a robust Widget Development Kit (WDK) available to developers, CE manufacturers, advertisers and content publishers.
Along with popular Yahoo! properties -- including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! Video, Yahoo! Finance and Flickr(R), well-known content providers are already developing and planning to deploy TV Widgets, including eBay(R), MySpace(R), CBS, The New York Times(R), Netflix(R), Amazon(R), Blockbuster(R), Showtime(R), USA TODAY(R) and Twitter(TM), among others. Many of these widgets are being demonstrated at CES and may be available on retail devices in the coming months. For a complete list of all TV widgets in the Yahoo! Widget Engine, please see http://connectedtv.yahoo.com/newsroom.
Yahoo! will enable an ecosystem of developers, publishers, device makers and advertisers that will benefit consumers by bringing the Cinematic Internet to life. The availability of the WDK and the Yahoo! Widget Engine, as well as the distribution partnerships and developer relationships announced today, form a strong foundation for the next generation of Internet connected TVs.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo! is focused on powering its communities of users, advertisers, publishers, and developers by creating indispensable experiences built on trust. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit pressroom.yahoo.com or the company's blog, Yodel Anecdotal.
For more information on Yahoo! Connected TV please visit http://connectedtv.yahoo.com
3rd Party Quotes in Support of Yahoo! Connected TV/Yahoo! Widget Engine
"Merging the user experience of the Internet and the television is an ideal combination for Accedo and casual gaming," said Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo Broadband. "This will deliver an interactive consumer experience for some of our most popular games including Sudoku, Texas Hold'em, and QuizzMaster. The Accedo Funspot TV Widget will extend our services in an innovative way to better engage with our users."
"A growing number of consumers today are looking to have entertainment at their fingertips," said Keith Morrow, Blockbuster Chief Information Officer. "The idea of delivering our growing library of digital content to consumers directly to their TVs in the form of a TV Widget is very exciting. The interface is simple to use and would make it easy for consumers to access movies and other entertainment from Blockbuster. This concept fits perfectly with our strategy of providing convenient access to media entertainment across a multi-channel distribution platform."
"From television's top-rated shows to sporting events to breaking news, CBS delivers the information and entertainment consumers want when and where they want it," said George Schweitzer, President, CBS Marketing Group. "We want to give consumers the interactivity and content they love from original programming including CSI, NCIS, and Late Show with David Letterman to CBS Fantasy Sports. Our viewers can now use TV Widgets to customize their viewing experience and enjoy their favorite programs in entirely new ways."
"As online entertainment continues to grow in popularity, we still see consumers struggle with how to manage their content once it's been acquired," said David Cook, executive vice president and general manager of Sonic's Premium Content Group. "TV Widgets running will provide an easy, yet rich experience for consumers to access Internet-delivered entertainment on their TVs. At the same time, they also offer a new way to distribute digital content to the latest devices, making it even more accessible to consumers."
"eBay is proud to work with Yahoo! by creating a TV Widget based on the Yahoo! Widget Engine," said Matt Ackley, VP of Internet Marketing of eBay. "As part of our eBay Anywhere strategy, TV Widgets enable users to access their eBay content through their TV in an engaging way."
"MySpace is constantly exploring innovative ways to connect with our users and offer increased access to the services they love and that fit their lifestyle," said Max Engel, product lead for MySpaceID, MySpace. "MySpace for TV, powered by MySpaceID, enables us to deliver MySpace directly to our users in a way that compliments their TV viewing experience and allows them to always stay connected to their social network."
"As the world's leading online movie rental company, Netflix is focused on creating the most efficient ways for our subscribers to find and enjoy great movies," said Netflix Vice President of Business Development Bill Holmes. "We welcome platforms such as Yahoo's, which promise to bring the personalization, convenience and instant gratification of the Web to the TV. We look forward to collaborating with Yahoo! and our consumer electronics partners to continue to bring Netflix to a range of new devices."
"We believe the ability to instantly access Rhapsody's six million on-demand tracks provides tremendous value to internet connected portable and in-home entertainment devices coming to market in 2009," said Neil Smith, vice president of business development for Rhapsody America. "We're excited to join Yahoo! for the launch of Connected TV and the development of customizable in-home music experiences with the top CE manufacturers around the world."
"Showtime is always looking for ways to bring new and exciting content to our subscribers," stated Robert Hayes, SVP and GM, Digital Media for Showtime Networks. "We look forward to working with Yahoo! to offer viewers interactive content around their favorite original programming including Californication, Dexter and The Tudors. TV Widgets allow Showtime a simple and powerful way to engage users more deeply in the TV programs they enjoy."
"With the launch of Connected TV, Yahoo! is helping us realize the potential ubiquity of our simple utility by bringing Twitter to the television through a TV Widget," said Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter. "Transforming television into an interactive device for sharing real-time updates among friends, family, and other trusted sources is an exciting prospect that extends Twitter's reach into an important arena."
"TV Widgets are a powerful way to deliver content through the combination of the Internet and the TV," said Jeff Webber, SVP & Publisher, USATODAY.com. "USA TODAY has always been an innovative media company which is recognized for its strong sports heritage. Offering our sports content on a TV Widget gives consumers another way of getting the information they expect from USA TODAY in an interactive and enhanced experience."
Lucas Mast, 408-507-1239
Zealous Wiley, 408-349-3623
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