Internet TV hasn’t become “the promised land of couch potato commerce” as some anticipated last decade, but we are getting closer this year as TV makers like Vizio add Ethernet ports and software makers move widgets from the computer to the small screen.
Irvine’s Broadcom Corp. is the latest to join the widget game and announced today it is teaming up with San Diego’s Chumby Industries, makers of the adorable Internet media player (on right) that scrolls through news headlines, offers weather updates and 999 other applications.
By adding support for Chumby’s service, Broadcom’s digital TV chip can offer the widget technology to any manufacturer of TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players or other Internet-TV machines. Chumby has over 1,000 widgets, from one that lets users check Facebook status, another that shows scenes from webcams around the globe, and one that paints Jackson Pollock-inspired art scenes. While many TV watchers could care less about Pollock’s paint drips on their TV, there are many useful widgets, such as live traffic, current weather and stock tickers. Check out Chumby’s collection HERE.
For TVs, Chumby widgets can be configured to hover at the bottom or top of a TV screen, like this:
The widgets can be enlarged or made transparent so you can still see the video behind the widget. Here’s an image of Chumby widgets at the bottom of the screen that you can click to enlarge:
The nice thing about the Chumby chip is that it won’t cost manufacturers anything extra, plus no other hardware is needed, Broadcom said. And for users, it should be as easy as picking new widgets online and sending them to the TV with one click. Hopefully, the feature will be fully integrated with a TV so all can be done with the remote control. Watch Broadcom’s YouTube video demonstrating the widget TV technology: youtube.com/watch?v=y1EyWvy-PTo
TV widgets were a big trend at recent Consumer Electronics Shows. Yahoo Widgets is a big player in the space and announced deals with Sony, Samsung, Vizio and LG Electronics in January. Other companies, such as Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T U-verse, already offer their own widgets but are mostly limited to local weather, traffic and TV information. The first of the Yahoo Widget TVs are expected to go on sale next month.
Broadcom has not announced any TV makers that will include Chumby widgets. However, Broadcom’s digital TV chip is already available in TVs from Sharp and LG Electronics.
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