The future of HTML on TV is WebKit

Andrew Baron of Rocketboom wrote a bit on TechCrunch entitled The Future Of TV Is HTML:

The world is obsessed with apps right now. An app is just software for your computer, and developers are being forced to recreate the same experience dozens of different ways. It’s a constant re-inventing of the wheel. What a waste of time. Now Microsoft is getting into the game too. While it’s easy for a consumer to ignore by just sticking to their platform of choice, developers and content distributors need to figure out WTF they must do next to make their “app” look the same on Windows or some other new platform, like yep, Apple Lion.

Yes, the diversity in platforms is also needed and welcome. It’s in the best interest of the world overall to have many choices. There are many examples of wants-and-needs not being met by just one development platform. Special tasks require alternate solutions. But for TV content, distributed to the living room, none of this really matters because the place to be is not necessarily on the phone, and its not in an app store, its on the web, via HTML.

And the future of HTML on TVs is WebKit. It’s what’s inside Google TV. Boxee switched over from Gecko. It’s optimized for embedded contexts in smart TVs like Vizio and Samsung. WebKit’s competition is Flash Lite, a version of Flash which is slimmed down for embedded platforms. Tivo has Flash Lite, not WebKit, for example. That means the best of both worlds for developers — the power and compatibility of HTML5 combined with the predictability of a single browser.

6 thoughts on “The future of HTML on TV is WebKit

  1. also consider that webkit is native (always running) on iP* devices – at some point, apple will be forced, by whatever forces make these things happen, to give javascript access to the device (camera, geolocation, etc.) This is only reinforced by rumors that Jobs had to be talked into NOT making html/canvas the native platform for apps.

    it’s hard for me to imagine any future looking company/vc investing in anything *other* than HTML5.

  2. It’s freaky how the forces of standardization play out in the same way in every new context. Ok, resistance is futile, but so is giving in too easily. For some reason the process always has to be two steps forward one step back.

  3. right lol – hardly futile since there must be some positive reinforcement to keep doing it – market cap, short term windfalls, etc. It seems *some* control of a market beats writing-on-the-wall. I spent years fighting this kind of thing at msft and while they aren’t as healthy as they could be they are hardly on the ropes. And the guy that talked Jobs into proprietary APIs for the iPhone App Store? His 2010 xmas bonus is bigger than my life’s earnings. That monster is just getting going.

  4. WRT “His 2010 xmas bonus is bigger than my life’s earnings. That monster is just getting going” – Dude, I laughed out loud.

    For the sake of your career and the products you work on you have to surf these waves. Like, we did the MOG Roku app and that dev context could hardly be more proprietary. At the same time, since we started that project the option to do HTML on TVs has come into being. You could see the HTML wave coming, and that it was probably a tsunami eventually, but it was just a little bump in the water at that point and too small to ride.


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