Yahoo and Korea’s Samsung aren’t going to concede defeat in the Internet TV game to Google and Sony: The two companies are going to sell Yahoo-connected TVs in 26 more nations.
Though Google has recently stolen most of the headlines about net-connected TV tech, thanks to its partnership with Sony and Logitech, Yahoo’s actually been operating in this space for a while. It sells Yahoo-connected TVs, enabled with enough computer power to run widgets on screen (revealing the weather, news, finance data, Twitter or Facebook status updates and so on) in 13 nations. Today Yahoo revealed a partnership with Samsung that will see its TVs sold in 39 nations.
It’s an interesting move: Samsung is one of the very biggest players in the HDTV game, and Yahoo’s Connect TV system is a third way for consumers who want to embrace the next-gen of TV tech. Yahoo TV sits between the products from Apple and Google. Apple TV is designed as a super-simple set-top box, with an elegant interface, tightly-controlled functions and Apple’s traditional control over what operations you can perform on it. Google’s system is far more sophisticated, something akin to strapping a netbook to the back of your TV–a single glance at the insanely complicated remote control Sony’s shipping with its Google TVs reveals that the device really is like the Net injected into a typical household TV experience.
Talking about the new moves, Yahoo’s senior director of Connect TV Russ Schafer didn’t mince words when he confirmed Yahoo’s position in the market: “We don’t think people want the whole Web browser experience crammed in a TV.”
The news comes at about the same time that major TV networks are blocking access to their shows via Google’s TV system, which highlights how very dynamic the Net TV market is right now. We know Apple is continuously negotiating with TV and movie content providers to get its TV system up to speed, and that a burgeoning hacker community is tackling the new A4-powered TV unit to expand its powers. Yahoo’s system, which looks much like a normal TV but brings extra functionality, may be the way to appeal to many a consumer who likes the idea of a future-focussed TV, but balks at Google’s complexity or Apple’s walled-garden approach.