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Intel and Yahoo! go TV ad mad

Widgets invade our living rooms

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Intel blinked its square eyes again today, when it unveiled a tie-up with Yahoo! to make another stab at connecting the TV and internet.

The pair have unveiled the Widget Channel at IDF. Intel’s key contribution is its Media Processor CE 3100, a Pentium M-based system that goes into TVs, set-top boxes, PVRs and the like. The SoC, previously codenamed Canmore, provides HD and 3D graphics, 7.1 channel audio, and Blueray support.

Yahoo!’s contribution has been around the creation of an “open platform” for the development of Widgets that Intel’s silicon will serve up to customers' TVs. Think of it as an on screen toolbar serving up mini apps from, for instance, TV firms, advertisers, other content providers. Customers will be able to choose and download widgets from galleries, which will initially at least be managed by Yahoo!. They will also be able to access other media on their home network, as well as streamed media from the internet.

The firms pledged to keep the platform open and said there’s no reason why other companies won’t emerge to host their own galleries. A standards body and working group is planned. Sweet.

The tie-up is not exclusive, and while Yahoo! Is the lead partner in the US, and is likely to push the technology in its other key markets, Intel is also talking with partners around the world.

The firms made plenty of fuzzy media messages about creating the cinematic internet, and bringing the web’s community and interaction to the TV.

Back in the real world, Yahoo! VP Patrick Barry said the firm would be doing what it always does – build an audience, and then monetise it – ie, pepper it with advertising. Which is what the majority of widget developers will presumably also look to do.

Intel will be looking to get the CE 3100 – and its follow-on parts - into as many OEM systems as possible. Intel digital home boss Eric Kim said the part would ship next month, and that we could expect product announcements at CES in January. According to Kim’s presentation, we can expect Sony, Samsung, Toshiba and Motorola to come in support.

In the meantime we suggest you try and enjoy TV classic while you can – being assaulted by just one advertiser at a time will soon be just a pleasant memory.®

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