Advanced Television

Widget alignment for TV

March 23, 2009

Recent findings from broadband research consultancy The Diffusion Group (TDG) suggest that the appeal of widget-enabled TV and video systems will be far greater than many expect. As well, the range of widget-based applications demanded by consumers will quickly eclipse the basic 'information push’ apps to be featured on the first wave of widget-enabled TVs and video platforms.

“TDG strongly believes that the introduction of widget-based apps into the TV environment will be the tipping point for Internet-enabled TV,” noted Michael Greeson, president of TDG. In support of this argument, TDG points to data collected during a January 2009 survey of adult broadband users in the U.S., which quantified an unusually high value perception of TV-based widgets.

According to TDG’s research, 76 per cent of consumers believe having a widget toolbar on their primary TV would be valuable (48 per cent “somewhat valuable” and 28 per cent “extremely valuable”) with only 13 per cent being neutral and 11 per cent negative. “Rarely in quantitative consumer research does a new feature or application receive such overwhelming support,” notes Greeson. “The widget concept is something consumers seem to understand – they just get it.”

Greeson warns that CE OEMs and service providers must make certain that their platforms can handle rapidly evolving usage scenarios. If Apple’s widget experience is any indication, the number and variety of TV-based widgets will expand rapidly and in many cases outstrip the ability of low-end hardware to support these applications. Should this happen, notes Greeson, firmware upgrades won’t matter because the hardware is what defines the headroom and sets the ceiling. “Future proofing Internet-enabled video platforms is critical – OEMs and operators must think beyond supporting the first round of applications and consider what will comes next, because ‘next’ will be here within months, not years.”

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