Take this for what it’s worth considering who paid for the research, but according to a recent survey 76 percent of US consumers who are in the market for a new HDTV would value having access to Internet widgets on their television. The research was carried out by the Diffusion Group on behalf of Intel, who in partnership with Yahoo are pushing the idea of Internet-connected televisions in a big way through the launch of the Yahoo Widget Channel (see video below), a platform designed to make it easy for developers and television manufacturers to add a ‘widget bar’ to HDTVs.
Unsurprisingly, of the 2,000 respondents who took part in the online survey, more than half (54.8 percent) said they “value being able to link to TV program websites while watching a favorite show so they can simultaneously interact with Web-based content while viewing the show.”
This, of course, is already happening in large numbers, I’d suggest, but not via Internet-connected TVs but through the use of a complementary device, such as a laptop/netbook or an iPhone or iPod touch. Who hasn’t googled a news story while watching TV or consulted Wikepedia or IMDB for information on a TV star or film?
I’d question, however, if an Internet-connected TV is the best way to access such text-based content. Weather forecasts and other micro-content, such as sports scores, may fair better on the TV:
According to TDG’s research, 81 percent of consumers find compelling value (and 40 percent find it “extremely” valuable) in having a Web-enabled TV Widget that allows them to customize up-to-the-minute weather information for their location and other locations of interest.
Again, unsurprisingly, 72.2 percent of respondents said they’d value having on-demand access to movies via the Internet and be able to watch them immediately on their TVs. A movie recommendation service also got the nod with just over half of those surveyed (59 percent).
See also: Chumby bets on Internet-connected TVs
However, perhaps the most interesting question asked by Intel was how much consumers would be willing to pay to have Internet widget functionality on their new HDTV.
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. This is above the additional spend associated with the presence of Internet connectivity.
An extra 75 bucks? That’s bound to be good news to Intel and Yahoo, along with others playing in the Internet TV widget space, including Google, Chumby and Sharp.