Of potentially greater interest to typical UK users will be the last three new services: Accedo, AceTrax and Viewster.
AceTrax is familiar from its appearance on Panasonic’s VieraCast online TV platform, and essentially lets you rent or buy films on demand. If you buy one, it’s stored on a remote Internet ‘cloud’ so you can downstream and watch it whenever you wish.
Accedo turns out to be an online gaming service. At the time of writing six games were available, including Sudoku and Mahjong Fruit.
Last and quite possibly least we come to Viewster. This looks, um, promising at first, thanks to it supposedly offering a variety of film, TV series and erotic content to people who subscribe to it or cough up a pay-per-view fee.
However, while the monthly sub doesn’t look too damaging at £7, the content was bizarrely obscure. We like to think we know quite a bit about films and telly shows, but we hadn’t heard of a single one of the limited number of (doubtless straight to video) films and shows available via Viewster. Weird.
The arrival of so much new content to online TV services at the end of 2010 surely highlights just how big this area of a TV’s performance will become in 2011.
It also shows that the TV you buy in January might be quite different by June in terms of it online functionality - without you having to pay a penny for the improvements. Turning on your TV every day might actually become an exciting experience, as you see what new features have been added. Well, maybe ‘exciting’ is stretching things, but you know where we’re coming from.
It’s a pity, though, that the quality and relevance of some of the content being provided really is questionable. There’s definitely a feeling with LG’s new NetCast efforts, for instance, that some of its stuff has only been included to ‘make up the numbers’. It’s just content for content’s sake.
Hopefully this will change in 2011, with manufacturers becoming brave enough to pick and choose their content better, ditching the pointless things and the stuff that just doesn’t work via a TV interface.
The reams of new content is also starting to make some of the interfaces being used for the online platforms seem seriously unwieldy. So we’re sure we’ll see some big changes in this area too through the course of the next 12 months.