Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Internet TV -- Yes, Coming Soon Again ... But This Time It's Different

Walt Mossberg's apprentice at The Wall Street Journal, Katherine Boehret, today reviews what she calls Samsung's new TV "with truly integrated Internet smarts."  Samsung's new flock of Internet-ready TVs -- which are both wired and wireless-ready -- come pre-loaded with the Yahoo Widget Engine, which enables viewers to watch TV and access the web concurrently on the same big screen (easy access to the Internet is accomplished by easy-to-access on screen widgets, which can be hidden).  

This is different from current "Internet TV" box solutions -- even Apple TV -- which do not allow simultaneous surfing and viewing on the big screen.  And, of course, Samsung's implementation of Internet TV requires no additional living room box.  These differences are critical to finally beginning to fulfill the promise -- and eventual dominance -- of Internet TV, a world in which virtually all viewing will be on demand and the long-trumpeted real convergence of the Internet with TV will be everyone's reality.

Samsung's Internet TV strategy is being followed by all other major TV manufacturers, including Sony.  This Christmas, every Sony flat-screen TV will come with an Ethernet connection and will be Internet-ready.  These consumer electronics/TV companies are moving fast to beat the cable companies and other CE companies (such as Apple and its Apple TV box) from offering competing Internet TV implementations that begin to take hold.  And, this is a direct shot across the bow to the cable companies who are at risk at becoming simply "dumb pipes."