We’ve been pretty bearish on the whole concept of internet TV. We think the big companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft (again) pushing internet TV are trying to solve a problem that normal consumers don’t have, and we think the tangle of actors that internet TV are trying to disrupt (from producers to TV networks to cable companies) aren’t going to be so easily disrupted.
That being said, ReadWriteWeb has a report about a cool internet TV product that actually looks useful and interesting. And it comes from, of all people, Yahoo, a company which hasn’t been in the news for innovation lately and whose forays into TV to date have been (wisely, in our opinion) cautious and small-scale.
What sets Yahoo TV apart is that it adds a layer of interactivity and commerce on top of the actual TV experience, instead of completely remaking it into an internet-like experience the way Google and Boxee are attempting. You can answer a poll about your favourite character while watching a TV show. You can buy a product you’re seeing on TV from your couch. You might be able to chat with your friends during a live sport event.
This sounds like the right approach to us. Take something that isn’t broken — TV — and simply add the good things we like about the internet, like interactivity and commerce. We think that Facebook can do this better than anyone, but Yahoo TV looks like a very solid and interesting effort.
If nothing else, big tech’s forays into TV are interesting to watch.