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Not one new Smart TV OS but two make their debut in Vegas

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There were few signs of consolidation in the Smart TV apps development environments at International CES 2014 after Panasonic and LG announced they will be supporting new Operating Systems. Panasonic is promoting the new Firefox OS and LG Electronics is throwing its weight behind webOS as a Smart TV platform.

Panasonic and Mozilla have formed a partnership to develop and promote the new Firefox OS, an open platform based on HTML5 and other web technologies, for next generation Smart TVs.  The aim is to leverage technology that is prevalent on PCs, smartphones and tablets and use it to provide better and more personalized connected content services. Firefox OS has its own open ecosystem that the two companies will promote.

“With the launch of this new open platform, next generation Smart TVs will gain full compatibility with web technologies and HTML5 standards used for cloud services and various future networked devices, enabling data from web services and devices to be easily mashed up on a single application,” Panasonic explains. “This ensures flexibility for developers to create new applications and services by using cross-leveraged content from the Internet and broadcasting.”

Basic functions like menus and EPGs that are currently written as embedded programmes will be written in HTML5, making it possible for developers to easily create applications for smartphones or tablets to remotely access and operate the TV. Through the web services, the Smart TVs using the OS will be able to display personalized User Interfaces with user favourites. You will also be able to add new functions for multiple users who are sharing the same screen after devices are purchased.

“Panasonic had been expanding content and services dedicated for Panasonic TVs on our own portal site and our collaboration with Mozilla on Firefox OS will further accelerate various innovations and encourage many new services,” claims Mr. Yuki Kusumi, Director of the TV Business Division of the AVC Networks Company of Panasonic. “Through Panasonic’s partnership with Mozilla, we will create further innovation in Smart TV technologies and features, which will take consumers to a whole new level of interaction and connectivity inside and outside of the home.”

By using new Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs for hardware control and operation, the Smart TVs will be able to monitor and operate devices inside and outside of the home, such as the emerging smart home appliances.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, LG Electronics said it is throwing its weight behind webOS as a Smart TV platform, revealing that the Operating System will be available in 70% of its televisions in 2014. LG purchased webOS from Hewlett-Packard in March last year and the technology has been “reinvented and reintroduced” as the company’s new Smart TV platform.

The CE giant says the new OS offers an intuitive User Interface and uncomplicated user experience, makes it very easy for developers to create applications, and enhances the compatibility of LG’s Smart TVs with other devices. webOS offers access to the LG Store’s collection of apps.

webOS televisions will be characterized by the new Launcher, a left-to-right scrollable menu that runs along the lower portion of the screen and enables users to switch between broadcast TV, Smart TV content and media stored on external devices without having to return to the Home screen. There is also a ‘Today’ menu that acts as
a one-stop content recommendation service.

“We feel confident that consumers will find navigating, exploring and switching between different forms of content on webOS a truly enjoyable, not frustrating, experience,” said In-kyu Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of the TV Division at the LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company.


Post-CES 2014 debrief:

Videonet is hosting a webcast to look at the lessons learned about the future of TV from CES this year. It is live on Friday, January 17 at 2pm GMT/3pm CET and our expert analysts are: David Mercer, VP, Principal Analyst, Digital Consumer Practice, Strategy Analytics; Jon Watts, Director and Co-founder, MTM; and Jeff Binder, General Partner, Genovation Capital, LLC. It is chaired by John Moulding, Editor, Videonet.

The webcast is free and you can also listen to it on-demand after Friday. Register here (free)

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