We had a chance to check out some of Samsung’s new 2009 TV sets today, which include Yahoo’s (YHOO) new TV widget platform. It’s still a work in progress — there’s less than a dozen apps available so far — but the widgets actually look pretty cool. (Click the image or here to see a bigger photo.)
Among the first ones available: A Twitter client. You can load live tweets while you’re watching TV, a movie, commercials, etc. (Update: Twitter says it did not make the app, which we’d reported before. Not sure why the widget ‘store’ says it did, but we’ll look into it.)
Also available: Photo app from Yahoo’s Flickr, weather, Yahoo video, news, and finance, USA Today sports, and a Texas Hold’Em and Sudoku game.
Coming this summer: Two “premium” video on demand apps, which we think could be Netflix (NFLX) and either Amazon (AMZN) or Blockbuster (BBI). Samsung tells us its media player is capable of handling many popular video codecs and HD video. (Look out, cable companies — your awful UI isn’t going to cut it much longer.)
We’re not sure if Yahoo’s TV widget platform will take off or not — it’s going to be a long time before there’s a big enough install base to matter to most developers. For instance, Samsung is only putting it on its mid- to high-end TVs for now because the widget platform requires a more powerful, expensive processor and more memory than its low-end TVs ship with.
But at least it’s not vaporware. Perhaps this will put some pressure on Apple to open up its Apple TV/Front Row set-top software to third-party developers.
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