People in America and around the world became accustomed to entertainment supported by ads with TV. When the internet came along, people rapidly became accustomed to internet browsing not supported by ads and often reacted harshly when ads were introduced to the medium.
Yahoo and Intel are trying to bring a new way to provide information and ads to TV. The Yahoo Widget Channel will be the first piece of software to take advantage of a new processor that Intel hopes to see integrated into the vast majority of TV sets being sold called the Intel Media Processor CE 3100.
Both of the companies are keen for consumers to understand that this is not another attempt to turn their TVs into computers. Intel tried that approach already with its failed Viiv brand. What the Yahoo Widget Channel will do is cater to the TV viewer by allowing them to connect with other people, find more information about actors or shows they are watching and more.
The technology will be integrated into a number of TVs that will be seen at CES 2009 next month. Major electronics makers including Samsung, Toshiba, and others will be showing TVs at CES 2009 that integrate Intel's new technology.
Yahoo and Intel both say that they are confident in the new technology and fully expect it to catch on, mostly due to the very low licensing requirements they demand for the technology.
Patrick Berry, VP of Yahoo's Connected TV Initiative told CNET, "We do not see it [Yahoo Widget Channel] as a niche offering in a few high-end models. We see this as moving into the mainstream. In 2009, we're going to see good penetration into the product lineups of the consumer electronics companies. Beginning in 2010, I think, you're going to see Internet-connected consumer electronics devices dominating the lineup."
Intel has put much research into bringing the technology to our living rooms after Viiv was far from well received by consumers. Intel even hired an anthropologist to study how people watch TV. With this research, they learned that viewers much preferred the Widget Channel to be at the bottom of the screen where we are used to seeing data scroll already, rather than on the left side of the screen.
Intel says it also learned that consumers didn't want another remote, keyboard, or a complex navigation system. The Widget Channel opens and closes with one button. Ads are coming, but according to Yahoo, they will be very consumer focused.
Barry said, "We have a lot of support from the advertising community, but we're focused on the consumer now. What you'll see initially is us trying to fall all over ourselves trying to make the consumer happy. The advertisers understand that."
Barry also says that Yahoo won’t have a lock on the ads shown on its Widget Channel. Yahoo is certainly hoping to lure other advertisers to the service like Google. Yahoo received the technology behind its Widget Channel from the purchase of Konfabulator in 2005.