Samsung, as indicated in an earlier blog post, is working with Yahoo on their widget approach to integrating the internet and television. One key to this is that these systems use the TV remote for navigation, not a keyboard. The other key is a semi-standardized user inteface.
As you can see, the widgets normally appear at the bottom of the screen (similar to the way they appear in Windows). This Widget Gallery can be turned off. The sites and services that have widgets depend on the companies who've built them (this system doesn't allow surfing the whole web).
When you click on one of the widget buttons in the Gallery, it opens the widget on the left. Most of the widgets then display a list of content that can be placed in the big window on the right. Oddly, all the demos I saw, require another button press to make the main window into a tile that isn't partly covered by the widget. Samsung was unclear about the ability to stream internet content into the widget while leaving the main tile up as it original was (say with a TV show running). These are early days for this technology.
Here is the full Samsung release:
SAMSUNG And YAHOO!® Bring THE Best OF The WEB To Television
on Jan 09, 2009
Internet@TV – Content Service to Open a Whole New World of TV Interactivity for Consumers
Select models in Samsung’s 2009 flat-panel HDTV lines will support the new TV Widget service, called “Internet@TV - Content Service.” The service, which adapts the Yahoo! Widget Engine, enables users to engage in a variety of experiences that traditionally could only be enjoyed on a PC. Not only will users be able to track their stock portfolio and stay on top of headline news, but they may also browse through videos, share photos and interact with friends. Users can access the service by connecting the HDTV to a home network via the built-in Ethernet port or using an optional Wi-Fi USB dongle.
The suite of TV Widgets range from a host of Yahoo! properties, including Flickr™, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Weather and Yahoo! Finance, to third-party content from well-known brands, including USA TODAY®, YouTube™, eBay® and Showtime Networks® among others. The content and services offered will grow to include video streaming and other popular internet services.
Developers worldwide will be able to develop and deploy TV Widgets for the television by using the open-platform Widget Development Kit (WDK). At the same time, Samsung will continue to provide high-performing TV hardware so that developers can easily deploy widgets on Samsung HDTVs. Samsung and Yahoo! will expand their collaboration further to bring more developers to the Internet@TV –Content Service and build an open ecosystem where more developers can create various TV Widgets for consumers to enjoy on their televisions.
“Samsung has been a proven innovator in Internet-enabled TV technology for some time now, offering the ground-breaking InfoLink service last year in 2008. There’s no denying that the easy-to-use, one-touch of the remote control service successfully provides information simply and effectively,” said Boo-Keun Yoon, Executive Vice President of the Visual Display Division at Samsung Electronics. He continues, “The collaboration with Yahoo! lets viewers go one step further. 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.”