LG and Philips have announced the Smart TV Alliance to make Smart TV apps cheaper and more readily available.
The mission statement of the Alliance is 'build once, run everywhere'. It seeks to ‘allow app developers to create apps and successfully run them on all supported Smart TV Alliance platforms.’
So eventually rollout of services across Smart TVs ought to be more harmonious. At the moment we’ve got Sony’s Bravia range, Panasonic’s Viera range as well as Smart TVs made by Samsung and Toshiba - all of which need separate apps written for them.
So if the Smart TV Alliance takes off, with developers using one SDK, we wouldn’t have to wait for the next Netflix app to arrive on your LG TV if it was already available on a Samsung one.
Which all sounds great; LG and Philips now need to convince the rest of the industry to get on board.
Smart TV Alliance: Don’t expect support for 2012 Smart TVs
LG and TP Vision (for Philips TVs) have now “officially established” the Alliance which was announced back in IFA 2011, along with fellow manufacturer Sharp.
Sharp’s name is curiously absent from any press release fanfare, but it’s been announced that “other Japanese TV manufacturers” are apparently in the process of joining.
Note the plural - we’d highly expect Sharp to be involved, so can we expect Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba to throw in too?
Whoever turns up to the Alliance party - we’re expecting announcements soon - us consumers won’t likely be any fruits of this union until next year.
LG’s release says that the Smart TV Alliance will “announce specifications of SDK 2.0 followed by the actual SDK 2.0 software release at the end of this year. With SDK 2.0, developers will be able to create applications for 2013 TV sets from participating Alliance members.”
So any new Smart TV sets released this year, whether they’re LG or Philips-branded, might not benefit.
Early Smart TV adopters thinking of splashing out then might want to hold fire; no-one likes being locked out of an upgrade cycle.
If enough of the industry gets behind this, the Smart TV Alliance could become the Smart TV equivalent of the Open Handset Alliance, the foundation of Android. Familiarity and the power to run the same apps and games as the guy next door could be what the Smart TV market needs if it’s really going to take off. That and some instruction manuals on how to connect them to the net...
UPDATE 09/072012: Toshiba has now nailed it's colours to the mast, announcing on the quiet that it's now a member of the Smart TV Alliance.