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Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Electronics giants team up to develop Web TV standard

AP , TOKYO

Sony, Matsushita and three other large Japanese electronics manufacturers are planning to develop a joint standard for new Internet televisions that will make it easier for consumers to access and view video available on the Web, a Sony spokeswoman announced yesterday.

The TVs aim to make accessing video and similar online content easier than with conventional computers, spokeswoman Mina Naito.

The other companies involved are Sharp Corp, Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd.

Available next year

The companies plan to start selling the new televisions as early as next year, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported, without saying how it got its information.

Naito said the timelines and other details of the products have not been disclosed.

The five rivals set up a joint company last month called TV Portal Service Corp to develop a common standard for connecting the Web, Naito said. Sony and Matsushita are the lead shareholders, each with 35 percent stake. The others have 10 percent shares.

Special remote

The Internet TVs will feature a special remote control that allows online access with the touch of a button and will also eliminate the need for a personal computer keyboard in order to make the gadget more user-friendly, the Nihon Keizai said.

The new televisions will use Linux operating systems instead of Microsoft Windows, it added.

That feature is aimed at cutting the time needed to boot up and reducing the risk of virus infection.

Together, the five companies expect to sell 10 million to 20 million units by Japan's 2011 changeover to terrestrial digital broadcasting, according to the report.

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