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It should also be noted that Vizio did a deal this week with Hulu to offer Hulu Plus- the first ad-supported subscription service to offer full current season runs of hit TV programs from ABC, FOX and NBC, in HD, for only UDS $9.99 a month. Which one of the crew over at Wired.com is predicting it might be the end of Cable, Satellite and PayTV as we know it today.
Cable and satellite are classic middlemen. When the internet meets the middleman, the middleman tends to disappear — or at least be replaced by a thinner middleman. We’ve seen it with record stores, classified ad-dependent newspapers, video-rental stores, bookstores and any other business that delivers something that the internet can deliver more efficiently.
And recently, a Bloomberg report appeared stating that the company is talking with CBS, Viacom and Time Warner to add their shows. That would be on top of their line-up which already includes Fox, NBC Universal, ABC, ABC Family, Biography, Lionsgate, Endemol, MGM, MTV Networks, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, PBS, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more.
Vizio Internet Apps (VIA™) - Connecting to the Future of Television is the pitch and they claim in an ambitious press release that it offers viewers the most convenient access to the widest range of top Internet content and services – all while simultaneously watching traditional TV broadcast or recorded video, for truly the ultimate experience in couch surfing.
What places them apart in the Connected TV realm is one simple thing and it's not the variety of apps - it's the fact it includes a customized Bluetooth universal remote control with sliding QWERTY keyboard for easy thumb-typing, and a remote that can be customised to control other attached CE source devices.
Yes the keyboard.
I recently wrote about my typing hell with Samsung Connected TV in The Netherlands:
As someone who can type about 100 wpm on a keyboard - and rock on an iPhone I am finding the 2=ABC, 3=DEF (Text on 9 keys) or T9 'old school' phone messaging cumbersome as hell. Give me a keyboard to move around on at least! I'd be happier one-thumbing on familar terrain - even a Querty would make me happy.
Vizio also claims their user interface (UI) enables a unique experience that hides all of the complexity from viewers. And not only do thei integrate the Yahoo! Widget Engine, they also include support for the Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home, an optimized implementation of Flash technology.
Previously announced content and service providers who are building Vizio Internet Apps include a huge array of players including: Accedo Broadband, Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster On Demand, Flickr, Netflix, Pandora and Rhapsody. With today’s announced agreements with eBay, Facebook, RadioTime, Revision3, Rallypoint Sports, Showtime, Twitter and Vudu.
"...Just wanted to address/correct a few items. The Yahoo! Widget Engine does indeed power the new Vizio TVs, as well as units currently in the market from Samsung, LG Electronics, and Sony. You can customize your experience in the Widget Gallery, so if any widget falls out of favor (ie the Twitter reference from Nathan), you can simply delete it, much like you would on the iPhone.
There will be new widgets coming soon from a wide variety of content providers and developers–video on demand (ex Netflix), transactional (ex eBay), network programming (ex CBS), cable outlets (ex Showtime), video (YouTube), social networking (Twitter), and other content from Yahoo! (Flickr, News, Sports, Weather) and many others. Our goal is to have100 by the end of the year. With Vizio’s announcement, by fall the top 3 international TV manufacturers and the top 4 in the US will all have TVs using the Yahoo! Widget Engine."