Samsung will announce at the IFA industry fair in Germany this week that it will start offering internet access in its Series 7, 8 and 9 televisions in Canada, Australia, and Singapore and in selected countries in Europe this year. No word yet on availability in the United States.
The announcement includes Samsung's inclusion in the Yahoo/ Intel widgets on television tie-up, but may include additional content and tie-ins. Details haven't been released.
From various reports, it would appear that Samsung is pitching the internet tie-in on an ease of use, "bite-sized" offering basis, with users being able to add news tickers or weather widgets alongside traditional television content. The head of digital media at Samsung Dr. Park told media outlets that he sees a future where in 5 years time, the television will be the center on the online experience, and will deliver music, streaming video, and other content, although it's not clear whether the first release will include streaming video for example, a real game changing service in terms of built in functionality within a television set.
Slowly but surely the cards are falling into place in the death of broadcast television. Samsung joins Sony in offering internet enabled televisions, and others are sure to follow. They may in the first generation not be overly compelling (the whole idea of widgets doesn't appeal to me, but it may have stronger appeal to the mainstream) but all of a sudden television sets will no longer be foreign to the network, and as users upgrade their sets or replace old ones, the internet will be built in and simply there for using in the lounge room. Couple this with easy access to streaming and live media online, and the argument that it's too niche or won't take off will be replaced by who offers the better software with their television sets.
See our previous coverage on the death of broadcast television here.