In what appears to be an end-run play, three of the TV industry’s heavy hitters — LG, Sharp and Philips — have banded together to define a common API for SmartTV apps, based on HTML5, CE-HTML and DbbTV. The apps in question are the widgets that appear on-screen on Internet or Web enabled HDTVs.

Having a common, defined API allows app developers to create a single app that can work across TVs manufactured by these three partners. Certainly, the initiative makes a lot of sense as it frees developers to spend more time creating apps rather than the busywork required to port them to different platforms. An initial developer preview for this proposed standard is due out this coming October with the final specification ready by year’s end.

However, the 800-pound gorillas of the TV space represented by Sony, Samsung and Vizio could throw a monkey wrench into the works by choosing to continue on with their own standards instead of supporting this open standard. At issue is the loss of control on their own platform which is never a palatable option for market share leaders. Only time will tell if developer and market support for an open and common standard will prevail, or whether the market will continue to be fragmented.

One key development that can give a positive push to this concept is an online appstore, like Apple’s, that would allow you to download free or low cost apps to increase the functionality of your web-enabled TV. Such a service would be critical to the eventual success of such a proposal and would be the driving factor to force adoption by the TV industry at large.

Source: Engadget

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