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Net-connected TVs to become a focus for Opera

Browser developer already working with four manufacturers

Internet-connected TVs are the next major focus, for browser developer Opera, at least.

At its UpNorthWeb Conference that took place in Oslo this week and also saw a first-look at both the next iteration of its desktop browser, Opera 12, which will be made available in Alpha version later this week, and its latest mobile browsers, Opera Mini 6.5 and Opera Mobile 11.5, the developer revealed 20 percent of modern flat-screen TVs sold have the ability to be connected to the web.

Opera is currently working with Sony, Sharp, Philips and Toshiba, which it said were four of the seven biggest TV manufacturers in the world to date, to make its browser available on these devices but not only as an app so viewers can surf the web from their TV, but also as a platform for other apps to be accessed through.

The browser developer said that ten years ago, it was predicted the internet would kills TV, but it has in fact boosted it. And now TVs seem the natural focus, just as mobile seemed the natural focus after fixed-line internet.

Furthermore, Opera believes that since Nintendo's Wii reminded consumers how gaming can be more of a social than solo activity, a web-connected TV will also appeal to those families that want to play games together, as they won't need a console, and instead simply open the browser on their TV to access multiplayer games.

During a panel discussion at the conference, Ed Palumbo, community manager at Opera, said he was saddened by the fact some consoles don't offer a web browser and he feels that any device connected to a TV should also connect to the internet.

Palumbo believes that privacy concerns over what content children could access this way may be behind the decision, as there are no parental controls in place to stop this. However, he thinks console manufacturers need to find a way of overcoming this issue.

"If it has a screen it should have a web browser," he said.

Meanwhile Cenk Serdar, data and communications services director at Vodafone who was also taking part in the discussion, said there was a fine line between being open on the web and sharing too much personal information. According to Serdar, there privacy concerns will be one of the biggest challenges, individuals, companies and government face in the future when it comes to the web.

He also believes that while web browsing has been improved over the past 15 years, the improvement have not been radical – those changes are still to come. He predicts in the future web users will be connecting multiple screens to one device and predicts foldable screens, like that currently seen on Sony's Tablet P tablet PC, will become the norm.


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