It appears that the network neutrality fight now also must be focused on how new TV sets are connected to the Internet.Â A narrow, closed universe, of digital lite applications are to be part of the new high definition television universe, according to Variety.Â For example, new TV’s connect to a version of the Internet but haven’t been “built for full-fledged Web browsing.”Â Â But these sets “will come pre-installed with targeted applications for specific websites, somewhat like iPhone apps.” [our emphasis]Â Some 50 million people are predicted to have these Net-lite sets by 2013.
Variety explains that:Â Indeed, apps are seen as the keys to success with Web-enabled TV. There are no plans for a central app store, but analysts say they wouldn’t be surprised to see one. For now manufacturers can “push” new apps onto TVs but viewers can’t add any themselves.Â This puts manufacturers in the new position of deciding which sites gain access to their customers’ screens, and there is already talk that they are contemplating selling such access via revenue-sharing deals.Â
The Obama Administration has been a strong supporter of network neutrality.Â It should challenge this threat to competition and new threat designed to narrow the Internet.Â Beyond concerns on openness and content diversity, it’s worth noting that some in the TV industry see the deliver of Internet services via TV’s a way to expand the impact of commercials and ads (since online video ad can’t be fast-forwarded or easily skipped).Â These Net-enabled devices also raise important privacy and consumer protection issues.Â Notes Variety, “[T]he new technology also could add power to an advertiser’s message, with consumers able to click a link and instantly learn more about a product — and with ads being better targeted based on a person’s viewing and browsing history.”
source:Â Television’s killer app: New HD TVs equipped with internet connection.Â Chris Morris.Â Variety. August 14, 2009.