Connected-TV Race: Yahoo Lands A European Telly Maker

The connected-TV space is getting HOT. Manufacturer platforms like Samsung [email protected] and Sony Internet TV are set to mix with Google TV and Yahoo Connected TV, while the UK’s Freeview TVs await connectivity upgrades through Dbook 7 and Canvas, and European broadcasters team for an industry-wide HbbTV standard.

In the coming melee, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) now says it’s gained carriage for its chosen implementation with Vestel, a Turkish TV manufacturer that Yahoo says is Europe’s largest telly maker with 16 percent of the LCD market.

The deal will integrate Yahoo Connected TV apps in to new, broadband-enabled TVs Vestel will ship to over 40 countries starting Q1 2011.

Vestel is not a top-tier consumer electronics maker, so its status in Europe says plenty about the dominance of Japanese and Korean firms. But Yahoo Connected TV is already on some U.S. TVs sold by Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio; only Samsung in Europe, according to Yahoo’s website (Update: Yahoo’s PR tells us it also has Sony).

While Yahoo has gone for creating an underlying widget platform for which media operators and others can develop services, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has opted for wrapping search and web services in to the fabric of connected TVs, the manufacturers themselves are adding proprietary services to their own sets with direct content deals as well as additional widgets and apps, and UK broadcasters, through Project Canvas, have teamed to enhance TVs’ digital-terrestrial Freeview service with their own VOD and services platform.

Indeed, Canvas was conceived by the BBC precisely because it wanted to head off the coming proliferation in connected-TV options available to consumers. But Canvas-enabled boxes and TVs won’t ship until next year, while the hardware makers already have TVs in the market packing similar features.

The likes of Yahoo and the TV manufacturers are getting a jump in the market.