TV manufacturers can now make their TVs smarter and draw entertainment content directly from the internet. The Espial Group from Ottawa Canada has a specialized web browser that can be built into any TV set. So, the TV can then be programmed to provide weather updates, YouTube videos or other video on-demand services and much more.
“We give them the ability to turn their TVs into smart TVs and enable them to connect to Internet video,” Jaison Dolvane, president and chief executive of Espial told the Ottawa Citizen. “We’ve been doing browsers around TVs for more than 10 years. There is a lot of intellectual property (that we have) around how to make this stuff look good, feel good and be used on a television.”
Espial based their development of a browser for televisions by using open source technology called WebKit, the identical technology Apple and Google operate for their Safari and Chrome browsers. The Ottawa company browser allows TVs to play Adobe Systems. Flash videos, access photos, connect to YouTube and videos stored online. And, users can even install a number of apps to get information about the weather, movie listings, headline news or sports scores.
It looks like Espial is doing pretty good business. Last year, Hitachi selected its TV browser for its web-connected TVs. The web-connected TVs are selling in Japan at a small premium — between $100 and $300 above non-Internet TVs.
More TV manufacturers are lining up to install Espial’s software onto their TVs in the next few months. The company also plans to introduce its Internet TV software in Amsterdam, the world’s largest trade show for IPTV professionals and attend the 2012 CES in Las Vegas.
The next time you take a look at a smart TV, the chances are pretty good that Epial’s software is installed in that set.