TuneIn and Connected TVs

Ever since televisions first arrived in living rooms in 1940, radio and TVs have waged a war for home entertainment system supremacy. But while walking around the floor of the CES 2011 show in Las Vegas earlier this month, it’s clear TV and radio are now close allies. A number of companies are rolling out Internet-connected televisions. In fact, VIZIO’s new lineup of connected televisions, which include the TuneIn app optimized for televisions, were awarded CNET’s “Best of CES: TVs” honor. We provide developers with an Open API that enables them to add TuneIn to their devices, and we’re increasingly working with television manufacturers.

It’s a trend we’ve seen developing for more more than two years. Back in 2008, Kodak unveiled its Kodak Theatre HD set top device that streams content from PCs and features TuneIn and other apps. Set top devices including the Roku line and Boxee feature TuneIn, and so do all Google TV-enabled devices.

VIZIO was just one of several manufacturers that unveiled connected televisions at CES. Reuters’ Isabelle Reynolds wrote an interesting summary of what she saw on the show floor. This is not a passing fad. In her article,  ”CES-ANALYSIS-TV photo(1)makers fumble towards the future: smarter TVs”, she cites research from Parks Associates that predicts connectable models to make up 76 percent of global TV sales by 2015.

We have built apps for connected television developers’ platforms centered around a couple of emerging standards including CE-HTML. The challenges are codec support and processing horsepower – or rather, a lack of it.  Most of these televisions do not have fast CPUs. In addition to televisions and set-top devices, we are also making our way into blu-ray and game consoles.

The big question for all us and our partners is do consumers actually want to access the  Internet on their TVs? What do you think — do you prefer to use TuneIn on your phone, tablet, connected radio or connected TV? Or do you like the idea of saving a station preset on your phone while you’re on-the-go and then being able to tune right to that station on your home entertainment system?

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