Internet-connected televisions are something of a subplot at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and Yahoo is rolling out some new features and partners to its Yahoo Connected TV business to turn it into something more than a side business.
The Web giant, which has been selling its Internet-connected TV platform for a few years, announced plans today at the Consumer Electronics Show to add Sony's Bravia TVs to the list of sets that include the technology. The company says more than 8 million consumers have purchased sets that have the technology baked in from manufacturers such as Samsung, Vizio, and Toshiba.
"Internet connectivity has become on of the biggest selling points to TVs," said Russ Schafer, senior director of global consumer and business, Yahoo Connected TV.
Roughly 1 million viewers use Yahoo Connected TV monthly, which provides widgets that lay over TV programming. Those widgets let users vote, for example, on who they think will win a boxing match they're watching. Other widgets let them play games. And they can even use the widgets to tap into Internet content and have it stream directly to their TVs.
At CES, the company is also bring technology developed by IntoNow, which Yahoo acquired last April, to Yahoo Connected TV. IntoNow is a bit like the music application Shazam, with which users can determine song titles by playing a tune off the radio into their mobile phone's microphone. With IntoNow, audio from a program gets run through a content-recognition server, and in 4 to 12 seconds, the program is identified.
Previously, IntoNow worked as an app on iPhones and iPads. Now, Yahoo is making that technology, dubbed SoundPrint, available on its Yahoo Connected TV platform. And by the end of March, viewers that use the app will be able to tag shows and start conversations over social networks with other users of the IntoNow app.