5 reasons widgets may be the next big TV trend

Internet-connected TVs have been with us for a while, but now Yahoo, Intel and others have actually found a great use for them: plying us with TV Widgets that give us personalised, real-time information and updates using mini internet apps. It's one of the hottest trends at CES. Here are five reasons why:

1. TV Widgets are better than Teletext

Most of the examples we've seen so far are limited to the US market, but there's no real reason why TV Widgets wouldn't work over here. Current offerings like Ceefax and Teletext still take too long to load - even in digital TV guise - and, of course, pages can't be personalised. You see the same information as everyone else.

2. TV Widgets can be tailored to suit you

Whether you want up-to-the-minute weather and stock market updates, or just want to keep tabs on what's being posted on Flickr, you can pick and choose individual widgets [or gadgets in Windows Vista parlance] to reflect your personal passions and tastes. You can even use them to watch internet video and follow or add tweets to Twitter. Yahoo calls its the cinematic internet. We have to agree

3. TV Widgets are expandable

Right now there are around 20 US-centric TV widgets, but there are plans for far, far more. Yahoo and Intel are already offering a Widget Development Kit (WDK) to consumer electronics companies and developers so they can create many, many more.

4. You know TV Widgets already

Yahoo's TV Widgets is based on Konfabulator - a cross-platform program for Mac and PC that was popular long before Apple and Microsoft decided to reinvent the concept. Konfabulator then has a long pedigree - and is a tried and trusted technology.

5. TV Widgets have wide industry support

TV makers including LG, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony have leapt onboard the TV Widget bandwagon. A whole slew of them have already been announced at CES 2009 and we're expecting to see more as the week unfolds.

From CES 2009