Yahoo adds new Net TV, processor partners

The Web pioneer is fleshing out its vision to bring Internet services to TV with new partnerships with Vizio, chipmakers, and others. Also: a revamped programming tool.

Yahoo has announced several new partners involved in its Connected TV effort to bring Internet services to the coming generation of network-connected TVs, as well as new programming tools to help programmers build services that use the technology.

Three TV manufacturers and two TV processor companies are now partners, Yahoo said Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The processor companies are notable given that the Connected TV effort began in close cooperation with Intel.

Yahoo hopes to bring its Internet clout to the consumer electronics world with software called the Yahoo Widget Engine, a foundation on which programs called widgets run. Widgets can provide access to TV show information, sports scores, weather forecasts, stock prices, online photos, and more, but don't require a keyboard to operate. And unsurprisingly for an online advertising company, the technology also accommodates ads.

Several companies are building the Yahoo software into their products:

• Vizio's XVT Connected HDTVs, set to go on sale this quarter.

• ViewSonic's VMP80 media player, a $159 device set to ship this quarter.

• Hisense International's Internet-Connected TV line, which will ship in the United States and Europe.

Earlier Connected TV partners include Samsung, LG Electronics, and Sony.

One processor partner is MIPS Technologies, which plans to develop a version of the Widget Engine for digital devices using its chips and reference design to help hardware makers get started building TVs and set-top boxes.

"Leveraging this reference implementation, MIPS licensees will be able to quickly develop devices incorporating Yahoo TV Widgets," Yahoo said.

The other processor partner is Sigma Designs, which plans to support the Widget Engine on its media processors that are used in Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and TV set-top boxes, Yahoo said.

Yahoo also announced broad availability of a new Widget Developer Kit (WDK) for programmers who want to create their own widgets.

Widget partners include USA Today, eBay, Twitter, Facebook, CNBC, NBC, Napster, RadioTime, Dailymotion, The Weather Channel, and Betfair.

 

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