5 Apps I’d Like to See on My TV

Growing up, my parents referred to the television as the “idiot box” or the “boob tube” because of its power to sap my ability to do anything other than stare blankly into its cathode glow. But the TV-viewing experience is undergoing a transformation as new levels of connectivity bring with them an assortment of applications designed to make watching TV a whole lot more active.

Recently, Vizio announced that it was bringing Twitter and Facebook functionality to its TV sets. Yahoo’s widget engine offers access to weather, Flickr photos and eBay. In the meantime, Cablevision is hooking up its TV and phone services so that when the phone rings, the TV show being watched can be paused.

The thought of all these new features junking up a television screen was enough to make my colleague Om title one of his recent posts, “Sometimes a TV Should Just Be a TV.” But most of the readers that responded to our query about whether people really wanted widgets on their TVs said yes, and preliminary research from TDG earlier this year echoes that sentiment. According to TDG’s numbers, 76 percent of consumers think having a widget toolbar on their primary TV set would be valuable.

I’m inclined to agree, but rather than trotting out the standard widgets that give me stock information, or allow me to order a movie on Netflix, here are five apps that I would love to have on my television. Read More about 5 Apps I’d Like to See on My TV

Will TV Ever Get an App Store Moment?

Before the launch of Apple’s App store, the mobile application marketplace reminded me of a state-run grocery store I saw in Eastern Berlin in September 1989: colorless and half-empty, offering up aisle after aisle of unwanted goods. That all changed last July when Steve Jobs unveiled the App Store and vendors, carriers and consumers all rushed after mobile apps like Trabant-driving East Berliners in search of a Big Mac. Today’s TV application marketplace is in a similar, pre-App Store state today: lots of competing software platforms, a growing number of connected devices (but none dominant) and a fairly small number of apps. So, when will the TV have its App Store moment?

Vid-Biz: Eun, Kangaroo, Viralheat

Q&A With Google’s David Eun; one of the key guys tasked with making YouTube profitable says, “I know that we’re monetizing more than anyone else is making, and I know that our costs are significantly lower than what anyone else is serving up and hosting.” (paidContent)

Trio of UK Broadcasters Barred from Kangaroo-Type VOD Ventures; government drafts rules that prohibit BBC, ITV and Channel 4 from participating in activities that would restrict competition. (ITVT)

Viralheat Gets into the Buzz Tracking Game; service scans nearly 30 sites like YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo to track the mentions of people and companies. (TechCrunch)

NPD Group: People Renting Digital Movies, Not Buying; research firm says 3 percent of consumers surveyed said they bought a permanent movie download, but 7 percent said they rented. (VideoBusiness)

New TV Remotes on the Way; simpler remote controls geared towards sifting through more data are on the way, though surprisingly Comcast users said they would prefer their standard 53 button-er. (Multichannel News)

Buy and Download Movies to the iPhone? Little is known about the service, but early indications point to coming enablement of the purchase of video content via iTunes on the device. (The Apple Blog)

Vid-Biz: Boxee, White House, WidgeTVs

Boxee Clones Mozilla to Get Hulu; in the ongoing back and forth, the media platform mimics Firefox, so if Hulu wants to block it again, it will have to block all Firefox users. (Silicon Alley Insider) That may be an unwanted expansion for Hulu, but where the company does want to grow is internationally, and to do so it hired Johannes Larcher as its new VP of International; he’s tasked with leading the site’s push outside the U.S. (C21Media.net)
Submit a Question to the White House About the Economy; President Obama encourages citizens to create videos of themselves asking questions about the current economic situation. (WhiteHouse.gov)
Samsung Releases Widget-Enabled TV; the LED TV 7000 has the Yahoo Widget engine and costs $3,000. (The Wall Street Journal)
Numa Numa Kid Does Geico Commercial; following in the footsteps of Tay Zonday, the portly dancer does a viral video spot with an insurance gecko. (Adrants)

Find more videos like this on AdGabber
Apple Extends Genius to TV Shows and Movies; iTunes will make recommendations based on what you have already bought. (Ars Technica)
Academic Earth Wants to Be the Hulu of Higher Learning; site aggregates full courses and lectures from the likes of Yale, Harvard, MIT and more. (TechCrunch)
Chinese Video Site to Use U.S. Company’s Copyright Filter; 56.com to adopt Vobile’s filter. (PC World)
ATAS, NATAS Settle Dispute Over Web Content; after long fued, two television academies will make web content eligible for both the Primetime and Daytime Emmy Awards. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Do You Want Widgets on Your TV? TDG Says You Do

We’ve asked before whether you really want widgets on your TV, and new data from The Diffusion Group indicates that yes indeed, you do want a dedicated area to access Internet-connected applications via your TV set.
According to TDG’s numbers, 76 percent of consumers think having a widget toolbar on their primary TV set would be valuable (though 48 percent of those people said it would only be “somewhat valuable”), 13 percent were neutral and 11 percent were negative.
Whether you want them or not, widgets are on their way. Yahoo (s yhoo) and Intel (s intc) are ramping up their TV platform to enable access to weather, stocks and news information on the ole TV, and Verizon recently showed a glimpse of what Twitter and Facebook will look like on its FiOS TV service.
This proliferation of widgets could come at a cost, though. TDG warns that too rapid an expansion of applications for the TV could outstrip the hardware capabilities of the television. TVs aren’t like cell phones, which people cycle through every few years. This is why some companies, such as Boxee, believe the future is with separate set-top boxes, which can be swapped out more easily, and not with the TV sets themselves.

Searchles’ Related Content Widget Wants To Make Your Web Site Stickier

logo_searchles_search_circl2If the “Web 2.0 era” marks the time when widgets became a household term (in web workers’ homes, at least!), 2009 is looking like a year when widgets are evolving and maturing to add real value for web site publishers and their visitors.

Whether you’re running a corporate blog, commercial web site, or any online media product or service, the name of the game is to engage users and get them to achieve the goal that you’ve set out. That goal might be to encourage multiple page views and return visits, to sign up for a service, to buy a product, and so on. And while “related stories” have long been a feature on online news sites and blogs, “contextually relevant” content widgets have become the latest trend in empowering web site publishers to quickly and easily install tools that will help them to reach their goals.

Searchles has launched a Related Content widget that seeks to help bloggers and web site publishers by providing contextually relevant posts while also delivering a contextual advertising component (at a 50/50 split) to help boost revenue and the bottom line. Read More about Searchles’ Related Content Widget Wants To Make Your Web Site Stickier

Beginning Mac: Dashboard


When the Mac operating system OS X 10.4 (aka “Tiger”) was first announced, there were two things that I instantly fell in love with: Automator and Dashboard. While Automator is great when you really want to geek out, Dashboard is a great companion for new and veteran users of the Mac.

Dashboard is a semi-transparent “layer” of the operating system that contains small, self-contained applications called “widgets.” These widgets allow you to do everything from convert currency to check the local weather. With thousands of widgets available — and even the ability to create your own — Dashboard can be a very useful (and powerful) tool for a new Mac owner.
Read More about Beginning Mac: Dashboard

Vid-Biz: IDF, G1, Sanctuary

Israeli Defense Force Using YouTube; the military is uploading videos to explain, in English and Arabic, their operations. (Variety)

First Video Shot with G1 Phone…Sucks; garbled, “colored mess” is because the G1’s firmware has big problem with video codecs. (VentureBeat)

Sanctuary Ends First Season on a High Note; season finale nabs 2 million viewers, marking the biggest audience yet for the former web show. (TVWeek)

BrightRoll Now Offers Ad Packages; BrightRoll Broadcast groups together different web publishers of the same content niche to sell to media buyers, CEO Tod Sacerdoti told us it’s like “video advertising with training wheels.” (Contentinople)

Verizon Gets CBS Shows for FiOS and Mobile; deal re-ups Verizon’s retransmission agreement with the network and expands the full episode offerings on its mobile platform. (MediaWeek)

VOD More Important Than Widgets; despite a big widget push at this year’s CES, research firm Strategy Analytics finds access to VOD content without a PC the most valuable feature of Net-enabled TVs. (TVover.net)

Adobe Ships New Flash Server Software; version 3.5 of Flash Media Interactive Server and Flash Media Streaming Server feature dynamic streaming, encrypted media protection, and an integrated HTTP server. (emailed release)

Intel and Yahoo (Still) Revving up TV Widgets

Let the CES news parade commence! We still have a week till the Las Vegas gadgetcon, but companies are already hyping what they’re bringing to the show. CNET has a nice read today on Intel (s INTC) and Yahoo’s (s YHOO) Widget Channel, which overlays simple forms of interactivity (e.g. current weather, other TV shows and movies an actor has appeared in, and sports stats) on top of television broadcasts.

We covered the Widget Channel’s initial announcement in August as well as its predecessor product from Yahoo a full two years ago. So is this actually going to launch at CES? Well, no. The Widget Channel will just be in “more finished form.” But! Partners such as Samsung and Toshiba have signed on to offer it.

Intel and Yahoo have refined the product through testing as well as review of TV-watching habits by Intel’s resident anthropologist. They aim to make it simple, basic, and light-weight, rather than robust and prominent. Do you want widgets on your TV? was our question last August, and pretty much all readers answered yes except for those who hoped providers like Comcast, AT&T and Yahoo would focus on more pressing concerns. Well, from the sounds of it this Widget Channel is interactivity at its most basic — a.k.a. not something anyone will get particularly passionate about.