WRAL Launches Interactive Widget

Raleigh station is first with application for “connected TVs”

Capitol Broadcasting station WRAL Raleigh,
which was the first U.S. station to broadcast
HDTV back in 1996, is now the first station to
launch a dedicated application for new “connected
TVs” that use a broadband connection
to pull content through the Internet.

Working with News Over Wireless (NOW),
a Capitol division that already helps 155-plus
stations deliver content to mobile phones,
WRAL has created an interactive TV widget
that works with the Yahoo Widget Engine
included in Internet-connected TVs from
Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio and others. The
widget allows viewers to access the station’s
local news, weather and sports information,
including both graphics and streaming video,
with a click of the remote.

The WRAL widget content is displayed as a partial overlay on
the screen on top of whatever viewers are watching, whether it is normal WRAL
programming, a competitor's programming or even a Blu-ray movie.

"No matter what you're watching, you can pull up
WRAL content," says WOW General Manager Sam Matheny.

That ease of access and ability to provide interactivity without
relying on a pay-TV partner is the key appeal of the widget to local stations,
says Matheny, who first learned of the technology when Intel executives
demonstrated it at the NAB Futures conference in 2009. WOW is already working
on new widgets for 30 stations, drawing on much of the same content and
graphical design it has already created for their mobile products.

"There's definitely a very strong place for TV
stations in cable systems," Matheny says. "But this is a great way
for stations to directly reach viewers."