Intel and Yahoo Bring Internet Back on TV

August 20th, 2008 at 12:00 am

internet tv set top box

Sometime back in the dot-com boom circa 2000-2001, I heard this thing they called internet TV. Today, internet TV refers to getting TV on the internet but back then it was completely the other way around. Sometime in the past, some people ventured into providing a stable and relevant alternative to surfing the internet on the computer.

They thought that the TV would do. So they tried it and ended up with a set top box that allowed the internet to be streamed to the television and users could surf using the remote. It didn’t work. The internet was slow and the interface totally sucked with the interlaced display.

However, after spending years on the shelf, that concept might be back with a vengeance. Nowadays, television sets are mostly HD capable and Cable TV carries the broadband internet. So with the new HD TV’s, and the set top box, it may be possible to get decent internet on the TV. This is exactly what Yahoo and Intel are trying to do.

At this year’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Intel and Yahoo previewed Widget TV. Apparently, Intel has been developing a media processor chip called the CE3100 a.k.a. "Canmore", that would be installed in HDTV’s. The media processor will allow users to access internet content from their cable broadband. Yahoo’s role in the plot is to provide the content via their Widget Channel.

"The Widget Channel will allow consumers to enjoy rich Internet applications designed for the TV while watching their favorite TV programs. The Widget Channel will be powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, a fifth-generation applications platform that will enable TV watchers to interact with and enjoy a rich set of "TV Widgets," or small Internet applications designed to complement and enhance the traditional TV watching experience and bring content, information and community features available on the Internet within easy reach of the remote control. The Widget Channel will also allow developers to use JAVASCRIPT®, XML*, HTML* and Adobe Flash® technology to write TV applications for the platform, extending the power and compatibility of PC application developer programs to TV and related CE devices. In addition to supporting the Yahoo! Widget Engine, Yahoo! will also provide consumers Yahoo!-branded TV Widgets that are customized based on its category-leading Internet services." [Press Release]

So theoretically, with this technology, it may be possible to actually surf decently on the TV. However, wouldn’t the set top box (STB) just be a regular computer? Anyway, this system will not replace the PC machine but it may just replicate it in some smaller, more specialized way.