Patrick Barry, VP of Connected TV from Yahoo demonstrated the “Widget Channel”, which aims to seamlessly integrate the Internet with television. Yes, yes, I know we’ve all heard that one before. But this time, they tell us, it will be different.
The Widget Channel is non-intrusive. All previous attempts at marrying the web with TV have obscured the actual experience of watching television by forcing a browser or some other distraction upon the user. By utilizing a widget approach, apps can be integrated into the Widget Dock that can rest alongside the bottom of the screen, much like a news ticker. (The screen can easily be resized if you actually are watching something with a news ticker).
The dock is made up of “snippets”, which are representations of web content of the users choosing. For example, in the demo we saw real time (20 minutes delayed) stock quotes, weather updates, news and sports. For deep functionality, a window can be opened in a side bar for viewing Flickr pictures or getting stock charts. The important thing to note here is that it was able to be done without interrupting the viewing process.
The demo was able to run with the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 (Canmore), which is “a few weeks away” from high volume production.
The demo worked fantastic and for the first time that I had ever seen, I actually believe the Internet can be integrated into the television. Along with consumers primed for true interactive television, industry is geared up for the transition too. Indeed, even the demo had an ad, snuggled right in there between My Media and the weather.