In the past ten years, TV technology has come along in leaps and bounds. Just about every household has a flat screen LCD or plasma TV as the CRT TVs of old are consigned to history.
Along with the introduction of ever-larger flat-screens, there have been many other developments and innovations in the high tech world of TV. HDTVs are commonplace and now Internet-enabled TVs are taking the role of the home television to a completely new level.
Yahoo! Gets Connected
Yahoo! and Samsung is collaborating to sell Yahoo! Connected TVs across Europe. Essentially these are TVs with a Yahoo! widget integrated that allows users connect to view their favourite sites on the Internet.
Although the service will initially only be available on Samsung’s Internet@TV range, Yahoo! has also started shipping their Connected technology in other media players, such as Blu-Ray devices, media servers and set-top boxes.
These will be ideal for people with TVs that are not Internet-enabled, allowing them to view websites via the peripheral device with the Yahoo! Connected technology integrated.
The downside is Yahoo!’s technology will only allow viewers to access certain sites. The rationale given by Yahoo! regarding this decision is that although TV viewers have access to many channels, they only watch their favorites.
Google On The Box
Of course, Yahoo! and Samsung isn’t alone in bringing the online world to television. Google has teamed up with Logitech to provide boxes that connect the Internet with any TV already in the home and Sony are integrating Google’s technology into its newest TVs and Blu-Ray devices.
Moreover, Google is incorporating the increasingly popular Android operating system along with their Chrome browser into their technology. This will mean integration with the Android App Store and full Flash support. In fact, you’ll even be able to use an Android phone as a remote control with Google’s set-top box.
The service has just launched in the US, so it may be a while before we see it in Europe, but the prospect of full Internet access, coupled with Android integration on your TV certainly looks exciting.
Apple Not So Flash
Talking of Flash support, or rather lack of it, the other option for people wanting to get to grips with Internet on their TV is Apple TV. Apple’s device, which Steve Jobs calls his hobby, has been around for some time now and the latest model should be here in time for Christmas, incidentally, with a much reduced price tag compared to its predecessor.
However, the technology certainly does not deliver nearly as much promise as Google TV or Yahoo! Connected. Although the device allows you to stream content from the Internet, much of it, such as iTunes content has to be paid for, and there is no web browsing capability.
If you’re looking for that sort of functionality, you might be better off getting one of Google’s set-top boxes.