RSS in the living room: Samsung plasma TVs offers one touch access to USA Today

One of the interesting trends being magnified at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that of Internet connectivity for home entertainment devices.

In particular, Samsung has announced that two of its fairly high-end plasma TV series will feature “one touch” access to USA Today‘s RSS news feeds.

Assuming their Series 6 / Series 7 TV is connected to the Internet (via the built-in Ethernet port), a viewer simply has to press the “RSS” button on their remote control unit to bring up a semi-transparent menu overlay featuring selectable newsfeeds covering a variety of customisable topics. The main TV picture remains unaffected.

I understand that Samsung is looking to do deals with other content providers, including Reuters, to expand the feeds available.

It’s an interesting move. Given that a lot of general consumers don’t really know what RSS is yet, and currently don’t have any “point-and-click” way of getting news and information from the Internet on their home TV, this could either be the start of something big for Samsung and other manufacturers, or a complete flop.

Putting “RSS” on the remote control may itself lead to confusion (because we all know that no-one reads the manual unless they really have to, either)

If this concept flies, it also has implications for bloggers. Should Samsung and other TV manufacturers not “do a Kindle” and restrict the scope of RSS feeds (and, heaven forbid, charge for reading them), then all the world’s blogs could soon be appearing on HDTV.

Oh yes, and so could the millions of splogs.

Perhaps Samsung is right to limit the offering to selected blogs, particularly as their first TVs only have one gigabyte of on-board memory to store information. In which case, how do you get on to their list?

Such a service is unlikely to appeal to heavy bloggers or seasoned blog readers (I tend to just have my laptop in the living room and keep the TV separate), but as blogging becomes more mainstream, and TVs serve up more than broadcast TV channels, your blog’s content could end up in all sorts of new places, and in front of many more eyeballs.

RSS is definitely coming to the living room.

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