LAS VEGAS--Opera Software may be known for making a solid desktop and mobile Web browser, but the company is also taking steps to blur the line between television and the Web as it debuts a TV-based app store.
The new Opera TV Store is an HTML5-powered Web app store for televisions that works with HD-ready screens, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and standard remote controls. It does pretty much what we've come to expect from app stores, which is provide you with Web-like experiences outside of the traditional browsing experience. Ready-to-use apps include Facebook and Vimeo, as well as games and news, indicating that hardware makers think that Web content is of at least equal entertainment value to traditional cable TV.
In a statement, Opera CEO Lars Boilesen said that the goal of the Opera TV project is to expand entertainment choices, but it goes almost without saying that he wants that to happen through Opera's platform. "We had a simple idea that, in order to bring apps to the world of TV in a huge way, you need to provide users with a lean-back web experience and developers, content providers and manufacturers with the most convenient, cross-platform technology," he said.
Opera has also provided and an Opera TV Emulator, so curious engineers can get started and see how the store works without having a live Opera TV box in front of them.
What neither Boilesen nor anybody else at Opera announced at the time this story was written was which companies have agreed to include Opera TV in their devices. An Opera representative would only tell me that "leading consumer electronics manufacturer" is already on board. Assuming people take advantage of Opera TV, which is no safe bet considering the growing plethora of ways that you can use to access the Internet, it could introduce a significantly wider audience to the Opera ecosystem.