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TV Market to Launch Cross-Platform App Store

Get ready for the evolution of TV. Or, at least, that's what consumer electronics makers and software companies want. Currently they're salivating over Apple's iTunes service, and are aiming to provide the same platform to TVs by offering widgets and applications. The San Francisco Chronicle even goes as far as reporting that TVs will ultimately become the third Internet screen, following the PC and the smartphone.

"This is a major transition happening with TVs," said Matthew McRae, vice president and general manager of product group at Vizio, the No. 1 LCD TV-maker in the United States. "TVs have moved from black and white to color and then to flat panel. This is the next evolution, from a display that sits on the wall to a product you interact with."

The Chronicle goes into various aspects of Internet-ready TV, including Yahoo's widgets that can pop up from the side or the bottom of the screen. Currently Yahoo's Widget Channel offer helpings from CBS, Facebook, Flickr, USA Today, and more. George Schweitzer, president of CBS's marketing group, chimed in and said that the company wants to cash in on the "swivel potatoes," those who swivel from the TV to the PC (cough).

But with all this talk about widgets and applications or whatever else the TV industry is fantasizing, many of today's TVs--even those that are "Connected" to online content--just aren't equipped to handle user input outside the traditional remote control. The "connected" TVs are somewhat minimal at the moment anyway, however the industry expects around 13.8 million "connected" units installed in U.S. households by 2013.

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