Wednesday, January 12, 2011

D-Link "plays the field" with a Yahoo Connected TV set-top box

Last week, D-Link announced a deal with Yahoo to implement that company's Connected TV in a set-top box. The D-Link/Yahoo set-top box will sell for less than $200 (U.S.) and will ship in Q2 2011. This is in addition to the D-Link Boxee Box that was released in time for last year's holiday season.

One of the major features of the latest version of Yahoo's Connected TV is its ability to integrate and interact with content coming from broadcast and cable networks. For example, at CES, Yahoo demonstrated the ability to overlay polls on live content from CBS and Showtime. For that to work, the video from a user's cable, satellite or IPTV box will have to go through the D-Link/Yahoo box. It's the same approach that Google TV uses.

Rafe Needleman of Cnet suggests that the Yahoo box shouldn't be priced much more than $49, because it doesn't offer much in the way of new content. As for D-Link, it's clearly hedging its bets on who will be the set-top box winner, but it's also adding to consumer confusion: When a customer goes into, say, Best Buy, will they be able to figure out whether to go with the D-Link Boxee or Yahoo boxes? My suspicion is that this isn't the last Internet TV system that D-Link will support.
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