Image by jasonsewell via FlickrThis is the sort of news that gets the geek in me and geeks around the world interested. Samsung will start to ship TVs that can run the Yahoo! Widget Engine.
How does it work?
Back in August last year Intel and Samsung announced they were working together on the Intel Media Processor CE3100 (aka Canmore). At roughly the same time Adobe said they would work to ensure Flash Lite would run on the CE3100.
Flash forward to today's announcement; if you can hook your Internet Ready Samsung TV with a CE3100 process up to the internet then you can run Flash Lite. You'll be able to access the Yahoo Widget Channel.
We don't have all the details yet - but already the word 'Channel' makes me suspect we'll have to tune into a dedicated area (a channel) and watch the Flash Lite software work. Okay. That's not too bad but I've kinda been able to do that with my Wii and the Internet Channel for ages (which allows me to watch Dr Who via the iPlayer...). It would be much better if I can bring up a Yahoo News widget and overlay that in the corner of my screen while I'm watching something else on cable.
It's also worth quickly noting the branding. Samsung are calling these Internet@TV and the Yahoo Widget Channel is an example of 'Internet@TV - Content Service'.
So, how does Google fit in?
These Yahoo widgets will take content from Yahoo News, Finance and Flickr, etc... but they'll also take content from YouTube.
The search and digital marketers among you will now be thinking how this could effect search and display.
We're not likely to see AdSense in these widgets. The Yahoo Publisher Network does not extend beyond the US whereas these TVs will be sold all over the world.
We may well see banner ads in these spots. UK TV viewers will be used to this; even my parents grew up with Teletext and Ceefax and today we've the red button and ads running in the likes of Virgin on Demand.
I think we're also likely to see all those pre-roll, post-roll and interstitial ads which Google experiments with. There's no reason why they couldn't play on the Yahoo Widget Channel.
I doubt we'll see huge volume straight away but the winds of change are certainly blowing towards internet TVs (or TV computers, or media centres, ... ) and so we shouldn't be surprised when we start to notice more and more people watching internet vids via their TVs.
That's the day traditional marketing agencies will be asked to benchmark and compare the ROI or ROAS of their TV ad campaigns.
I drool when I imagine all the possibilities of significant Flash on TV brings. Here in the UK we've already seen finance companies like Ocean Finance running their own TV channel. That can't come cheap.
How would a flash TV channel compare? All of a sudden projects like the Looking for Group movie would be much easier. Weebl would be making Magical Trevor a lot more money.
In fact, even if we just restrict ourselves to the Yahoo Widget Channel we find ourselves able to imgine affiliate produced widgets and affiliate monetarised widgets.
All of a sudden Facebook, MySpace and Bebo might imagine themselves as a TV channel (they could certainly be accessed via a Yahoo widget). Banner clicks are poor on social networking sites but they do attract a lot of eyeballs - would they consider running 'flash TV ads'? Most likely. Anything to try and monetarise.
There's always a thorn in the bush. How well does your website interact if someone tries to use it via a TV? Can people make purchases from you?
It's worth noting that people may be trying to use your website via their TV already. I've already toured some of the UK's largest retailers via my wii and the internet channel. It's not always a pretty picture of the retailer.
Remember WAP? Long before there was the iPhone there was a train of logic which said that you needed a specially dumbed down version of your site for poor old mobile phones. Whereas iPhone optimsation is popular these days it isn't always necessary. Certainly there's less need to dumb a site down to WAP speed.
It's doubtful we'll see an Internet@TV scripting language. It's more likely we'll see optimisation via user-agent detection or simply TVs adding mice and keyboards as recommended accessories.
What do you think?