Mozilla and Panasonic team up for HTML5-driven TV

Mozilla and Panasonic team up for HTML5-driven TV

Summary: The lounge room is set to become the next frontier in the battle for operating system supremacy.

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The development framework for the next generation of TV-based apps increasingly looks set to settle on HTML5, as Panasonic and Mozilla today announced a partnership that will see the Japanese electronics giant deploy Firefox OS on its next release of smart TVs.

Released during the latter half of last year, Firefox OS is Mozilla's operating system for mobile devices whose apps are primarily intended to be written in HTML5 and JavaScript.

As part of the partnership, Panasonic will be engineering some of the TV's functionality in HTML5, and will give app developers access to the device's hardware using WebAPI.

"In next-generation smart TVs, basic functions, such as menus and EPGs (electronic program guide), which are currently written as embedded programs, will be written in HTML5, making it possible for developers to easily create applications for smartphones or tablets to remotely access and operate the TV," the company said in a statement.

"In addition, through the web services, next-generation smart TVs can display personalised user interfaces, featuring the user's favourites and even add new functions for multiple users sharing the same screen after devices are purchased."

Panasonic says its TVs will be able to be monitored and operated from within and outside of the home, and make use of cloud services to allow for "cross-leveraged content from the internet and broadcasting".

The arrival of Firefox OS on Panasonic devices is the latest in a series of moves by electronics companies to push HTML5-based apps onto lounge room devices.

On Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, Korean manufacturer LG officially unveiled its usage of webOS as the new operating system of choice for its range of smart TVs.

LG acquired parts of the open-source webOS from HP in February last year. The deal saw LG gain control of the documentation and other websites related to the project, while HP maintained the rights of access to webOS solutions, its updating service, and control of the application catalogue.

Like Firefox OS, webOS is underpinned by a Linux kernel, with applications primarily intended to be written in HTML5, but apps in C++ are supported as well.

On the pure HTML5 front, Samsung announced last week that it will be making apps from the Opera TV Store available to users of certain models of its Blu-ray players.

Topics: Apps, Open Source, Web development

About

Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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5 comments
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  • Funniest thing about my Panasonic 50"...

    Lately the webapps have been finicky to not working at all. I used the amazon ondemand app a lot, and youtube on occasion. Now it just plain doesn't work anymore. I think now that this TV is near 3-4yrs old, Panasonic did this on purpose to get me to buy a new TV :-P
    unredeemed
    • This is about trust

      Firefox OS TV is a great idea.

      And it is an OS you can trust.

      Unlike Microsoft, Google, Apple who happily let the NSA monitor everything that you do. I will certainly buy a Firefox TV.
      Vbitrate
    • Sounds like you have a network problem

      You probably have one of this:
      - TV was move to a Wi-Fi low zone.
      - An item was moved or set at a location that blocks the Wi-Fi signal to the TV
      - Wi-Fi router is having problems
      - Wi-Fi receiver (on the TV) is having problems
      - Your router is set to a hardcoded channel and your neighbor is using the same hardcoded channel.
      wackoae
      • One more possible cause:

        - You have internet from Comcast ... and they are throttling the crap out of your service because you "stream too much" on your "unlimited" contract.
        wackoae
  • HTML5 Making Old Smart TVs Obsolete?

    I recently purchased this smart TV this past Christmas from Zen Electronics (http://www.zenelectronics.com/panasonic-60-vt60-series-plasma-tv-tc-p60vt60/) and while I know it's not a Panasonic TV, I assume most manufacturers will switch over to HTML5...will that mean my TV will be considered outdated and not run as many programs or apps as the HTML5 options?
    c_reagan