Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Control Your Digital Home Via a Web Page

Are you confused by your digital home management interface? Help is on the way. The rise of IP-enabled consumer electronics (CE) products is fueling increasing demand for browsers and web-based user interfaces in these complex devices.

ABI Research expects the number of web browsers embedded in CE devices such as digital TVs, game consoles, and set-top boxes to grow from 60 million shipped in 2008 to 214 million by 2013.

"Most forward-thinking consumer electronics vendors today are integrating IP ports in their mainline consumer electronics devices," says research director Michael Wolf.

The push to bring web surfing, over-the-top video content, social networking and other web 2.0 applications to consumer electronics is creating a need to integrate browsing engines and dynamic user interfaces as well as other platforms for content rendering.

The integration of web browsers into digital TVs is already common in Japan and is becoming increasingly more common in North America -- with vendors such as Sony integrating browsers as a way to help deliver web services.

Further, Yahoo's recent announcements about porting its widget platform to the living room indicate it will take advantage of the CE-2014 HTML standard, and many of the initial implementations of this standard will use a variation of Webkit -- the same browser core used by Apple and Google.

"One of the main facets of multi-screen offerings will be web-based user interfaces and rich web content across all three screens," says Wolf.

Beyond the PC and mobile environment is the Internet-connected TV screen, and in the living room we see the browser core -- either explicitly or as part of a rich Internet application runtime such as Adobe's AIR -- as one of the important elements in this vision of the future.