Panasonic Begins Selling The First Firefox OS-Powered Smart TVs, Initially In Europe

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Mozilla picked CES in January to show-off is Firefox OS — know best for powering cheap smartphones for emerging markets — running on smart TVs. Now the initial fruits of its labor are on shelves in Europe.

Panasonic is Mozilla’s launch partner, and the electronics company’s latest line of Viera smart TVs includes six that are powered by Firefox OS — CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680 — including Panasonic’s first curved LED LCD TV. The companies say these models, or variants of them, will be come to other international markets in the “coming months.”

The smart TV space is a tricky one, particularly since Firefox OS smartphones have made little-to-no inroad among consumers who might be in the market for a new tele. Nonetheless, with Mozilla’s HTML5-based platform, Panasonic said its TVs support web apps — Mozilla has seeded APIs to help developers build for the platform — alongside other web-based content, channel favoriting, and interactions with other devices. A number of top content companies have apps for the platform, so you’ll be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others on the big screen.

Mozilla said Firefox OS provides “more choice and control to users, developers, operators and hardware manufacturers” — but Google’s Android TV, and its much-speculated future plans, are the elephant in the room when it comes to smart TV volume and attention from developers. There is also Samsung’s Tizen platform, which is shipping on TVs. Securing a major name like Panasonic as a launch partner, however, is sure to help raise interest from consumers in Mozilla’s fork into TV.