Soft launch for Philips Net TV

IFA 20908 - BERLIN. Although Philips will launch its “Net TV” portal sometime next year, it is demoing the system at this year’s IFA. Originally, the service which streams web TV to the televsion set was set to launch this autumn.

Philips Net TV requires a special chip set to be built into a TV, allowing for direct streaming of web videos to the screen. Philips is now in the process of building a portal with suitable video content. It will also be possible to have access to websites which have a special version suitable for the TV screen.

By creating its own portal, Philips Net TV will de facto be a closed shop, although the manufacturer claims the system will be as open as possible. “But we need to guarantee the viewer a good experience,” according to a spokesperson. The company is now in the process of lining up content providers. The first territories for Net TV will include Germany and The Netherlands.

During the past year, Philips conducted a trial with 250 homes in Amsterdam with a number of streaming web sites. The idea is that Philips will take a payment from each generated stream. Also, it will be possible to order movies and TV series as part of a VOD service, where the company expects a cut from the revenues.

When looking at Philips Net TV, it reminds us of the old Web TV, which was bought by Microsoft. Net TV will compete with similar technologies, including Sony’s Bravia Internet Video Link, which also is a closed shop for streaming video content.

Although we believe consumers will look for some editorial guidance to web videos, we question the wisdom of building a closed shop, whatever the reasoning behind it. As internet history has taught us again and again, we know that walled gardens will not work on the web.