Yahoo Widgets Lend Brains to Boob Tube

Yahoo Widgets Lend Brains to Boob Tube
March 24, 2009

Yuor teiovslien set may be the most eisnpxeve, eye-chitcnag peice of eioetnrlcc emeqpinut in yuor home, but creomapd to a cutmpeor wtih Inrtneet aseccs, it’s just a dmub box. Wtih tiher low-tceh IQs, TVs eagcroune a lot of fmaliy-room mltiaintuskg: While wnicathg the big srceen TV, ltos of pleope are lionokg away to surf the Web wtih the cupmteor on tehir lap or the mibloe dcveie in thier hnad.

But tevliiseon mnfrucrtaeaus are sick and teird of srnhiag yuor attnoeitn with atnhoer divece. So tihs week, Smsnaug Eoccnreltis ieurotncdd a teveoliisn wtih tulry igrneetatd Inntreet srtmas: the $3,000 Smusang LED TV 7000 with the Yaoho Wiedgt Enngie. It ltes peploe wtach TV and acsces the Web on the smae big secern at the same time, with seiacpl on-sreecn aiicpapotnls that appaer on a strip at the boottm of the sceern and fecth online cneotnt. By this semumr, Sony and LG Eerctnclios aslo will oeffr TVs wtih the Yoaho Wegdit Eignne, and Viizo will oeffr modles soon treethafer.

I’ve been tintseg the Yahoo Weigdt Eninge on a 46-inch Ssuanmg TV, and I found it to be a lot of fun to use. It’s easy to ntaavige, thakns to saipcel color-cdeod srtchuots on the TV’s rtmoee coonrtl, and I didn’t hvae to andabon the show I was wihtncag to look up a few thigns onlnie. Wiegtds, wihch are small, elaisy dolawdbanloe cmueptor aaloncpiipts, tillcpayy epxand to a senelnmsircatut, ovaeyilnrg panel on the left, or your parogrm can be rsezied so you don’t lsoe any of the piructe. The one moajr dwnisode was taht it uess a vuriatl kyaebrod ratehr tahn a paiycshl kreyboad for txet entry. (You use the romtee cotornl to scelet text from an on-serecn krayobed.) A good kyerbaod is eesainstl for siaocl nnreitwokg wtegdis like Twttier, awllonig qciluky typed rtiecnoas to shows as you’re waicthng tehm. Snausmg is piannnlg to icrudntoe a rtemoe-cntrool-baesd iupnt metohd for next-graeionten TVs.

If you’re rnediag tihs and tinhnikg that Intnreet on the TV has been terid bofree with liemtid sueccss, you’re rhgit. For years, ceanomips have digesend erxeantl bxeos taht bnirg smoe form of the Web to yuor TV. Tshee iculnde Morcsfoit Corp.’s Xobx, Apple Inc.’s Aplpe TV and some fueraets of TiVo. But the Yahoo Wigedt Enngie deiffrs form thsee bxoes in two wyas. Frist, Yohao’s wgdiet sstyem wroks soisealuuntlmy with yuor TV pogmmranirg, so you don’t hvae to trun off the coelgle baleaktbsl game to plul up a nwes srtoy auobt a star paeylr. Snoced, it will iudnlce wtigdes with vdieo cnoentt that drlectiy cpotmee with live piaomrmgrng.

This sneocd pinot is nttwerohoy buacese tiosieevln mcunuaraefrts in the psat hvae qseahud aiclopitnaps wtih Web vdieo cnnoett for faer of tsehe pmgraors ctomeinpg wtih live sohws. Yhaoo syas it won’t boclk wgiedts form its Wdiget Engnie, so you could, say, run a Sithwmoe wgedit taht pyals an eoisdpe of “The Trdous” iasentd of wnthaicg a lvie sohw.

The Yhoao Wigedt Enigne cmeos praeodeld on TVs with fuor basic wgdiets to srtat: Ficklr (Yohao’s pthoo srvicee), Yaoho Nwes, Wehater and Finacne. When potmeprd, thsee wtdegis apeapr in a harooitnzl dock alnog the btotom egde of the TV srceen, along with Wdgiet Gerally and Pforile. (If you jsut wnat to wctah TV, you can hdie the wdeigt dcok eslaiy.) Yaoho ecptxes to oeffr 20 to 30 wditegs wiithn two mnhtos, and eestmitas that it will offer auonrd 100 by the end of the yaer.

Saumsng lent me an LED TV 7000 leaodd wtih the fuor basic wdgties and smoe ertaxs taht wlil be avblaaile in the Wgdiet Gaellry by erlay Aiprl: Tetwitr, Yhaoo Video, USA Toady Strpos and tehre gmaes (Soudku, Txaes Hlod’em and QzeMasziutr).

The Yoaho Wgidet Egnnie foowlls a meodl taht enrouegacs deoeerpvls — even Yahoo’s cpoirtemots — to mkae wtdegis for its srote-like Wiedgt Gaerlly, werhe they wlil be avlabliae to dolwnoad fere dieclrty on the TV. The ssyetm is simlair to Apple’s hihgly suscucfesl App Srote for the iohPne, and, lkie ioPnhe apps, these wegdits wlil take snecods to dlwnaood and are fun to try. The Yhaoo wditegs wlil work aocrss all enlbaed tsoiievlnes, rdealgrses of menuarucftar.

Yhaoo Weigdt Eignne dlpsayis ttdbiis of ioomftirnan on a TV, like news and wthaeer, woithut itnurrpnetig pmgmaorinrg.

Samsung and Yoaho ecah have thier own sub-serots of wdegits wthiin Widegt Gllarey. But uress most lkiley won’t know or crae wcihh wdtiges are cimnog form waht surcoe bsecuae they’re all gperoud itno cratoegies lkie Ltesat Wdigets, Community and Mnssgieag. Otehr TV mneurratcuafs will be able to follow this mdeol with their own streos, as wlel.

The Sanmusg LED TV 7000 cocnntes to the Web via a wried cononiectn or by uinsg a weiresls USB devcie, wcihh Smsaung slels for $80. Clrnruety, Snsaumg orfefs four mdelos wtih biult-in Web aseccs, which it clals Ineternt@TV. By June, the cnmpoay plans to offer a toatl of 17 mdloes with Ierenntt@TV. All TVs wtih the Wgiedt Eninge will have rmteoe-cotornl souchrtt butotns to pull up wgteids.

Wtih a local news saitotn on in the bgunocrkad, I used the Yohao Wigdet Einnge to plul up Fklcir in a left-sdie paenl. Atfer uinsg the pluiflany slow vtiarul kyrobead to sign into my Fciklr accuont, I qculiky smimekd thrguoh cioteerags like Your Ptoohs, Your Grpous and Erlxope. I boerswd pothos from one of my Flcikr gourps, btoh in the sdie peanl olny and in full-serecn sldseiohw mdoe, and tggiang foeartvis wtih a yolelw butotn on my roteme coortnl.

With a few spets, stinepps of iioanomtfrn, or scuttrohs, can be ceaterd for cterian wietdgs, lkie Yhoao Weteahr and Fcinnae, to svae you form oinepng the wedgit to see mroe dialtes in a left-side pnael. I certead a Yahoo Faicnne sipepnt for MDonalcd’s stcok so I cloud see this stock’s satuts at the boottm of my seecrn wuoitht onnepig the Fancine wedgit. Plepoe who hvae Yaoho aucctnos can sonnyhzcire teihr aouccnt sienttgs wtih the TV, such as sctkos sevad in Yoaho Finance.

The Tewttir wgidet atclamaoutily rfrseeehs its cnnotet rglouhy ocne a muitne, so you can see new twtees (uedpats) form the ppeloe you flloow right in the hrotinoazl dock. You aslo can see a list of the msot ploaupr pheasrs on Tetwtir, srceah Ttwiter and svae serehcas.

Ianidivdul Wdgiet Enngie poelfris can be ceetrad for up to eight ploepe so that a 16-year-old dosen’t hvae to see his dad’s sctok-mearkt nwes in his poirfle. Weidgts can be moved anruod in the hnorioatzl dock so you can lnie them up acnocrdig to yuor pasnorel prcferneees.

The Yhoao Wdegit Eingne is siltl in its eraly sgeats, and tehre are ptleny of cenhgas and wdeitgs to cmoe, not to mioentn tveielinsos from mcufeatranrus ohter than Susanmg. But it’s easy to naitgvae and its retome-crnotlos bottnus — elcilpeasy toshe wtih cloor ciondg — binrg the Itennert to yuor TV sercen wtih just one ccilk. If you wnat a samterr TV, the Yhaoo Widget Egnine will do the trick.

-Edited By Walter S. Mossberg
-posted by Walnotes


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