Opera, the Norwegian company behind the desktop and mobile web browser of the same name, wants to be a major player in the nascent Internet-connected TV space.
Like Yahoo’s ‘Widget Channel’ or the boutique gadget maker Chumby’s own platform, Opera’s newly released Opera Devices SDK 10 is touting the ability for TV and set-top box manufacturers to add Internet widgets to their feature set, along with full web-browsing if required.
The widgets on display in a video demo published by Opera (embedded below) take on a familiar look and feel and pull in content from all of the usual suspects, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Amazon etc. While the Twitter example shown perhaps typifies the hopes pinned on widgets on the TV: the ability for viewers to pull in and publish web content contextual to their viewing experience, in this case status updates to and from their social network. Swap social network for shopping cart, Amazon for example, and it’s not hard to imagine the potential business opportunities.
On the other hand, if Fox TV’s recent Twitter experiment is anything to go on, perhaps this whole Internet widgets stealing screen real estate on the TV is a bit of red herring. Although at least one market survey, which we reported on earlier in the year, suggests that consumers do have an apatite for Internet widgets on the TV and are willing to pay for such functionality.
As for full web browsing on the TV? Well we all know how that worked out the first time round, albeit in a predominantly dial-up era.