Japanese manufacturer Matsushita (Panasonic) has signed a deal with Google that will see the company launch flat panel television sets that allow users to access YouTube and other Google services such as Picasa Web Albums.
The deal is said to be non-exclusive with the first units set to be launched in the United States in Spring.
The deal isn’t the first internet enabled television to be manufactured, but it is the first time Google has signed a deal in this space. Internet in the lounge room has long been a hyped technology that despite various platforms (including Windows MCE) has failed to capture the publics imagination, particularly given the need for a computer or internet specific device to connect. TV with internet access built in, if it’s delivered without any major premium over existing television sets has the potential of finally delivering mass market convergence. Having YouTube access built into sets as a default would also be a positive for Google as it continues to work towards strengthen YouTube’s long term dominance in light of increased competition.