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Photos: Yahoo Widgets invade Samsung TVs

If TV bores you, why not jazz the whole thing up by staring at some pretty little widgets while everyone on Hollyoaks carries on pretending they can act in the background?

Ian Morris
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Along with 3D, you couldn't move for TVs using Yahoo Widgets at CES this year. As much as the lack of originality grinds our gears, we can't help but like the idea of pretty on-screen information.

Yahoo Widgets hit the big time a few years ago. Originally an application known as Konfabulator, it ran on Mac OS X, making use of its powerful graphics acceleration. A Windows version eventually appeared and in 2005 the company was sold to Yahoo, which made the whole lot free to download.

You could argue that the usefulness of Yahoo Widgets is relatively limited for TVs. After all, who wants a massive cartoon sun obscuring the latest episode of 24? Well, that's true in some cases, but the widgets are more likely to be useful in conjunction with news TV, or to see what's happening in the real world while your other half watches miserable Northerners sloping around some desolate cobbled street.

Samsung seems to think it's all worthwhile though, and has bounded on to the widgets bandwagon. Most of its new high-end TVs will feature the ability to access the mini applications, including the new LED backlit range and the new ultra-thin plasmas.

We were very impressed by how slick everything looked. And Samsung offers a wireless dongle with its TVs -- as an optional extra -- so you can even access these tools without the hassle of wiring your TV into your network.

We can only hope there's a twitter widget on the way: after all, being away from the micro-blogging site causes us pretty severe pain these days.

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The most famous widget must surely be 'weather'. Although not every widget will be available on your TV, there's a generous selection, including news, sport and stock info.
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Widgets are selected using a cunning little gallery. It couldn't be easier to get started with this funky new tool.
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Now YouTube has finally increased the quality of clips, we can actually see the point of watching them on your TV now. Clips filmed on someone's phone are never going to be the best material for your 1080p TV, but for one-off chuckles at 'Jizz in my Pants', it'll do.
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To keep track of your widgets, Samsung includes a pretty little widget bar. This all looks really slick, and makes us think that this sort of thing has a real future. Who knows, perhaps it will one day be as well-loved as Ceefax.

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