Broadband has revolutionized the way people communicate and share information. This realization hit home after moving my son to his new digs at UCSD (University of California, San Diego). Now I know I need to cut the apron strings; but I found myself texting him, which is less intrusive than a phone call, right? It went something like this: “Ellen DeGeneres joins American Idol as a judge?” And sadly, “Do you want to join my Facebook?”It occurred to me that now more than ever, communication through broadband data networks has become common place in our everyday lives — whether it’s through cell phones, laptops or connected CE devices. In fact, “Internet TV” is gaining a lot of attention these days, so it didn’t surprise me to see the Reuters article on September 4 that highlights a study conducted by The Diffusion Group showing more than three-fourth of adult broadband users perceive widget-based net-TV applications as a valuable addition to their TV experience. TV Widgets are small Internet icons that scroll across the bottom of the TV screen and can be viewed simultaneously while watching your favorite TV program. They can also be personalized to your individual preference. For instance, in the not too distance future, I could watch American Idol while simultaneously accessing a Facebook TV Widget with an easy click on the remote to ask my son what contestant he thinks will get voted off. This is more than a futuristic prediction; technology is already in place to marry the TV and Internet through a new media processor from Intel and a TV software application framework called Widget Channel. Many companies are already using this software application to develop TV Widgets such as: Accedo, Associated Press, CBS, CinemaNow, MySpace and Yahoo!, including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! Finance and Flickr. And I understand many more are coming to market soon. Here’s a great video on Internet TV: There’s also a cool video on next-generation TV on the CE Network website, a community of hardware, software and services providers that develop Internet-connected CE devices. Below are more survey findings from TDG on consumer desire for Web-enabled TV: – More than 85 percent of consumers value being able to quickly find and watch episodes of current season TV shows they may have missed or want to watch again. – 81 percent of consumers find compelling value in having a Web-enabled TV Widget that allows them to customize up-to-the-minute weather information for their location. – 73 percent of consumers find it valuable to have on-demand access to movies via the Internet and watch them immediately on their TVs. In addition, more than half of survey participants say access to a movie recommendation service to help find films and watch them right away is somewhat to extremely valuable. – 75 percent of those consumers likely to purchase a new HDTV in the next six months would pay as much as $75 extra if it featured a “widget toolbar” and their five favorite applications. You can see more on the TDG study at www.asktdg.com. And while my son didn’t accept my Facebook invite, I still have hope that once Internet TV takes off, perhaps he will video conference me?
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