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Mozilla Partners With Panasonic To Bring Firefox OS To the TV

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the tune-in dept.

Firefox 55

An anonymous reader writes "At CES 2014 in Las Vegas today, Mozilla announced its plans for Firefox OS this year. Having launched Firefox OS for smartphones in 2013, the company has now partnered with Panasonic to bring its operating system to TVs, and also detailed the progress that has been made around the tablet and desktop versions."

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2014 - WebTV returns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45882833)

Chromecast was the opening salvo in a battle that will rage all year.

Anything will be an improvement (4, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 10 months ago | (#45882837)

The current generation of "smart" TV's with every brand having their own interface is getting a bit tedious. Give me Android, give me Firefox OS, even give me iOS if you have to.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#45882853)

Cut cable/satellite, buy Apple TV, get Netflix. Even a regular, not-overpriced computer monitor will do. Why pay for a stupid built-in tuner and a crappy OS interface in 2014?

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 10 months ago | (#45882901)

Yep, not to mention security updates and maintenance to said OSes. I have my as dumb as possible TV hooked to a desktop with cordless mouse and keyboard and it does the job fine.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 10 months ago | (#45883107)

A USB remote [amazon.com] is nice too.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45883083)

Overpriced, not available in most of the world.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

Obijon70 (2755699) | about 10 months ago | (#45884547)

I would love to, but my wife would kill me. kill me extra-dead.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

amn108 (1231606) | about 10 months ago | (#45885773)

The thing is that, while you are absolutely right on all of your points, the main factor is image quality for intended usage - viewed from typical angular distance of 30-90 degrees or similar, TV of 30-55" size, first of all you will hardly find a computer monitor with sufficient luminosity/image brightness AND sufficiently little color distortion. Not to mention finding a computer monitor above 30" of size. Face it - not all of us watch movies from our working desk :-)

The truth is, TV makers have gone a long way of making sure the image is stable and TV-worthy. Computer monitor makers go for a bit different goal - individual pixel clarity at the expense of brightness and motion stability (I don't think computer monitors do anything with motion anyway, which is however not a bad thing per se, mind you).

Bottomline is, we need screens that let us disable all of the often unnecessary image processing (usually found in TVs), while giving us luminosity and color gamut of a good modern flatscreen TV, which computer monitors mostly don't give us (unless you plan on using an Eizo or some other made-for-photo-editing monitor).

And I agree - make analog TV tuner optional, and DEFINITELY forfeit and abandon the whole Smart-TV concept - its a gimmick TV makers have found which lets them sell us features at the expense of lack of innovation. Real innovation lies in f.e. Philips MothEye tech., black levels and color gamut, horizonal and vertical angle viewing etc - the usual things normal people notice.

Want Smart TV? Connect a screen to a computer that runs something that people are used to (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc), not a proprietary firmware capable of this but not that.

The finals are only on pay TV (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45894919)

Cut cable/satellite

How should the sports fan in your household watch televised sports without a cable or satellite subscription? For the past few years and for the next few years, the "bowl games" (championships of NCAA Football Bowl Division) have been and will be on ESPN. And in NHL, some games of the Stanley Cup were shown on cable's NBC Sports Network during the past couple years. Not everybody is willing to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings that often.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (5, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45882911)

My smart TV is running windows.
It runs every browser and most of my favorite apps, flash, video, and it even runs productivity software, games, and non-latin websites.

Just don't mind the little box behind the flat screen.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45882987)

I'm content with a "dumb" TV sitting on an analog cable connection. If I want to watch an episode of something, that is what Hulu Plus is for. If I want a movie, I'll hit NetFlix or Amazon Prime.

I want as few "smart" devices as possible. The fewer devices on the Internet, the fewer that can be compromised and used by criminals. My phone, fine. My desktop, OK. My server array and network stuff, great. However, when it gets to my vehicle, TV, smoke detector, fleshlight, or thermostat, enough is enough. I have enough devices to keep upgrades, I don't need any more.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45883167)

Are you getting regular web upgrades to your fleshlight?
My wife isn't getting updates anymore, I have to keep running the old bugs. Should I consider switching over?

Re:Anything will be an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45883425)

It's not a "bug" that she'd rather you put your weenie in her vagina, rather than her anus.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 10 months ago | (#45883047)

The current generation of "smart" TV's with every brand having their own interface is getting a bit tedious. Give me Android, give me Firefox OS, even give me iOS if you have to.

The problem is, even if they are based on Android, they still will probably each have their own interface. For some reason, every company seems to think they understand UI design better than whoever designs the standard Android interface, and unfortunately, more often than not, they're wrong. :-)

And if you're really unlucky, you end up with a smart TV that won't play Netflix reliably and a smart Blu-Ray player that won't play video from Amazon reliably....

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 10 months ago | (#45883115)

The current generation of "smart" TV's with every brand having their own interface is getting a bit tedious. Give me Android, give me Firefox OS, even give me iOS if you have to.

I prefer it to be just a display, I can plug a cable box or a PC or a gaming console or a Chromecast or an AppleTV into it or whatever, I can choose what device, capabilities and interface I prefer and change it whenever I like. A TV just has to support as many connection options as possible.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 9 months ago | (#45887625)

I think you and the gp agree.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 10 months ago | (#45883349)

I'd rather have an even better improvement that no smart TV will ever trump: a dumb TV with a smart box.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 9 months ago | (#45886975)

Well, in theory the smart TV gives you the advantage that you have fewer cables to manage. And if you have a lot of electronic equipment, that's a big deal. My room with computers has three desktops, one laptop and docking station, four monitors, five speakers, one wireless router, one home VOIP phone, one business VOIP phone, one USB webcam, one microphone, one cable modem, USB keyboards, USB mice, bluetooth keyboards and mice, and probably a partridge in a pear tree. Even with liberal use of zip-ties, the multitude of cables looks awful and is a pain to manage. And it could be worse, the cell phone and tablet chargers are in another room. (I have a big family, only a fraction of this stuff is mine.)

But I agree with you. The problem with a Smart TV, or fifteen years ago the problem with a TV with builtin DVD and VCR, is that there's a good chance the television screen and speakers will work long after the add-on component is broken. It's the same reason I use desktops instead of laptops unless I absolutely need portability - replacing and upgrading components is so much cheaper and more convenient than moving to a newer, more expensive device.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45883423)

The current generation of "smart" TV's with every brand having their own interface is getting a bit tedious.

These companies are trying to differentiate their products via software. The problem is that it is embedded software. If they were able to think ahead by more than one product cycle they would put all the "smarts" on a tiny little HDMI stick like google has with their chromecast.

That would let them get all the benefits of a "customized experience" or whatever the marketing aholes are calling it this year, but it would be easily upgradeable in the field after the manufacturer has stopped giving a shit about software updates.

HDMI even as the CEC protocol for doing remote control, like changing channels, volume, etc. The little HDMI stick could directly control all the basic functions of the TV, making it just as seamless of a user interface as they get today with the embedded crap.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (2)

CODiNE (27417) | about 10 months ago | (#45884495)

Historically hardware manufacturers make terrible software. It's just a throw away to get you to buy the plastic in the box.

Digital Camera software.
Scanner Software.
Printer Drivers with Photo Editing software.
Harddrive "drivers" and software.
Wifi cards.

Once you buy it you're on your own.

When these functions get absorbed by the OS it's usually a pretty good basic experience for everyone with the rare actually useful optional download from the maker for more knobs to turn.

So iOS, Windows, Linux or Android... usually the built-in stuff is better than the crap you would have gotten, but there still needs to be a way to use the occasional gem from hardware makers that actually care.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 10 months ago | (#45883525)

I'd probably care more if I didn't keep the same TV for 7 or 8 years at a time.

Re:Anything will be an improvement (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 10 months ago | (#45885195)

"The current generation of "smart" TV's with every brand having their own interface is getting a bit tedious. Give me Android, give me Firefox OS, even give me iOS if you have to."

I'm not disagreeing with this.

But there is little difference between a TV and flat panel monitor these days, I can hook an XBox up to either of them as an example.

All they need to do is standardize plugging a smart phone into a TV or monitor and make a wireless keyboard or game controller work and all of these issues about "some OS running on some anarchronism of device" --- and face it, in ten years the idea of a "monitor" that can only function as a TV (which is what we have today) --- is going to sound mighty stupid.

If you get my drift ...

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

amn108 (1231606) | about 9 months ago | (#45885805)

Differences:

1. Available sizes - far less choice of monitors above say 30", which is considered "small" for a TV
2. Different usage - TVs are meant to convey motion at the expense of still pictures (they usually do the latter adequately if not real well, however), while a monitor is basically for working, which puts ergonomy (read maximum brightness etc) at the top of priority list.

Besides, you don't get the market economy into account - we don't get the technology we geeks think is best - average users get the technology Ford thinks they will like - a TV that lets you watch Netflix, for one. Grandpa doesn't know his TV has a HDMI/Displayport input and that he can connect his laptop to it and browse the Internetz with a wireless keyboard/mouse combo. I do, and you do, but LG doesn't really consider us a big part of their intended buyer public. And this is how we have gotten to the point of applauding to the "brilliant" innovation of "smart" television.

Ford: "Behold, I give you the first in the world, a car with refrigerator!"
Public: "Woha, now I can refrigerate stuff while I drive!"
Geek: "Isn't it well, a car, with a refrigerator attached? I've had refrigerator installed in my car for years... What's new here?"

Re:Anything will be an improvement (1)

amn108 (1231606) | about 9 months ago | (#45885809)

Forgot #3:

3. Brightness per unit of distance - TVs give out far more brightness per square meter of illuminated area than a monitor. The dimmest plasma TV rivals the brightest monitors out there, and the newest and brightest LED LCDs that are sold in droves to the consumers today will burn your eyes out were you attempt to use them as monitor :-)

Bootloader (0)

sirhan (105815) | about 10 months ago | (#45882859)

Open Source TV set? All well and good, I suppose, until it comes out with a locked bootloader. Is this a TiVo situation all over again?

Re:Bootloader (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 10 months ago | (#45883955)

"Open Source TV set? All well and good, I suppose, until it comes out with a locked bootloader. Is this a TiVo situation all over again?"

More or less yes. And that's why there's a GPLv3 too.

Re:Bootloader (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 10 months ago | (#45884103)

Which is why as far as FOSS is concerned the community needs to focus on actually finishing the Hurd. Linux is free software but by convenience rather than ideology, it's about collaborative development and "tit for tat" rather than software freedom. You can support products that have open bootloaders and such but you can never guarantee that and Linux will never enforce it which is why the FOSS community needs to focus less on proliferation of Linux and complaining about closed bootloaders and more on actually developing a proper FOSS kernel, a GPLv3 kernel that is even better than Linux.

Re:Bootloader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45884345)

Are you really this dumb?

Re:Bootloader (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 10 months ago | (#45885081)

Yeah you're probably right, the Hurd has failed for long enough that it's probably time to just give up on a GPLv3 kernel.

Chaos for the Masses (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45882863)

So now everyday TV watchers can experience the frequent random silly UI "upgrades" just like the rest of us. If you think losing the remote inside the couch is frustrating, imagine the buttons scrambling themselves randomly at 3am, and with "explanations" such as, "we are just gradually preparing for the future Flux Capacitor interface kit by mixing the old and new styles, whether they gel or not."

Re:Chaos for the Masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45882885)

So now everyday TV watchers can experience the frequent random silly UI "upgrades" just like the rest of us.

I can't wait for a TV to tell me "Please wait. Recalibrating." I doubt my homeowners insurance will cover what happens next.

Re:Chaos for the Masses (1)

amn108 (1231606) | about 9 months ago | (#45885825)

The LG TV I turned on at my parens in law's place did exactly that - a dialogue in the lower right corner of the screen telling me that it needs/will upgrade itself promptly. I don't remember what I did then, but I remember being pissed about it!

Smart-TV concept is a ingenious strategy from TV makers to sell features to consumer when innovation doesn't sell or is lacking and when consumers are drowned in choice between TVs they can not differentiate between (except for the logo). I hate the concept, my parents in law seem to like it - they watch Netflix, even thought they have an iMac worth of hundreds of dollars in the other room, and could easily afford an AppleTV box anyway (they're fans of Apple and its products.)

Re:Chaos for the Masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45885949)

True. If my TV suddenly changes its UI logic "in order to improve user experience", the brand of TV will absolutely change on the next time the TV set breaks. I hope it would be soon against the law to change the feature set after purchase. The vendors just don't get it that somebody might have actually chosen their thing for the UI and feature set that was presented at shop.

Re:Chaos for the Masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45886157)

Check your local consumer protection laws, in many countries you have the right to get it "fixed" or void the purchase. Probably not if you're in the US.

Re:Chaos for the Masses (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 9 months ago | (#45890467)

In the US we enjoy the freedom to be screwed over by vendors.

Android not sufficiently open? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45882869)

We asked Panasonic why it agreed to go with Firefox OS. âoeThere are no other alternatives that are truly open,â Merwan Mereby, Panasonicâ(TM)s US Vice President Interactive Content & Services Group, told us.

That is interesting, because I thought a bunch of handset makers are using Android while giving nothing at all back to google.

Re:Android not sufficiently open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45882931)

They want to be able to sufficiently customise everything, which Android does not allow (Google reined it in). However, it also means that the customisation will likely create fragmentation hell. Lovely.

Differentiation (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 10 months ago | (#45882977)

Each manufacturer wants to build brand value by being incompatible with all the others in their own unique way.

Re:Android not sufficiently open? (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 10 months ago | (#45883303)

That is interesting, because I thought a bunch of handset makers are using Android while giving nothing at all back to google.

They are, but they are restricted. They can't create any incompatibilities and the key element to being part of the Android ecosystem is the proprietary Google Play Services and all the proprietary Google apps. Sure they could take the stock AOSP project and maintain, upgrade and develop it themselves but they aren't really in the business of doing that.

Re:Android not sufficiently open? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45883965)

Re:Android not sufficiently open? (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 10 months ago | (#45884511)

It's more a move to counter LG - who are building TVs around the entrails of Palm's webOS. Both platforms are built around HTML5, so any 'apps' running on LG TVs might easily be ported to Panasonic's.

I wish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45882925)

...a smart TV would come out with a quad HD tuner, an ADSL modem with VOIP handset, wireless base station, 4 ethernet port switch, decent CPU/GPU/Storage, SteamOS running MythTV, LAMP stack, personal cloud services for email etc..
Then I could replace the half dozens devices cluttering up my living room.

Re:I wish... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#45883081)

...a smart TV would come out with a quad HD tuner, an ADSL modem with VOIP handset, wireless base station, 4 ethernet port switch, decent CPU/GPU/Storage, SteamOS running MythTV, LAMP stack, personal cloud services for email etc.. Then I could replace the half dozens devices cluttering up my living room.

What, like a QNAP box of some sort?

Who? (1)

soundguy (415780) | about 10 months ago | (#45883159)

Who the hell are they "announcing" things too? The doors don't even open until tomorrow. Saw a pic yesterday and they're still building everything. Manlifts and crews all over the place.

Re:Who? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 10 months ago | (#45884417)

They announce it now so you know where to go once those doors open.

57 Trillion URLs and Nothin On (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45883327)

Old tune needs an upgrade.

You need the 'cool channel' (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 10 months ago | (#45883777)

Butthead: Hey Beavis.
Beavis: What?
Butthead: I was just like...thinking and stuff. It was pretty cool.
Beavis: Yeah, I'm gonna try that.
Butthead: TV is cool.
Beavis: Yeah, yeah, TV rules. It rules! Yeah...
Butthead: Hey beavis...I heard that pretty soon, they're gonna have, like, 500 channels. That's gonna be cool.
Beavis: Really? That would be cool.
Butthead: You know what would be really cool, though? If like, one of the channels didn't suck.
Beavis: Yeah, but, like, if one of them didn't suck, why would you need the other...um... three hundred and twenty-seven?
Butthead: Because, you know all those tv shows that suck? It's like, you gotta put them somewhere! You can't put 'em on the cool channel!
Beavis: Yeah, yeah! They should call it the cool channel!

time to stop buying Panasonic TV's I guess. (0)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 10 months ago | (#45883487)

weekly updates, bloat and random changes. hmmm great just what I wanted in my TV's interface.

Re:time to stop buying Panasonic TV's I guess. (2)

NonFerrousBueller (1175131) | about 10 months ago | (#45884531)

No kidding - as if my Panasonic "Smart" TV didn't suck enough already. Twice now we've sat down as a family to Skype with my mother on the other side of the world only to have the telly decide it needed to do an update NOW. Twenty minutes later, the 3 year old is in no mood to sit and talk to grandma, who is already tech-challenged and doesn't understand the hold-up. The inbuilt "OS" is slow and buggy and the UI is atrocious. The YouTube browser tries to do a full search for each letter you enter, so by the time I've laboriously typed "Winnie The Pooh" it's tried to do 15 searches. The matching DVD player is even worse. There are right ways and wrong ways to implement this, I hope Firefox does more right than wrong.

Yeah, this is Slashdot so I should be whipping up some sort of MythTV thingie but I've seen the agony my friend has gone through doing that and seriously, I've got better things to do with my time (see three year old).

Re:time to stop buying Panasonic TV's I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45886449)

There could be also a day, when some channels just did not work, as the Firefox ivory tower decided that the channels were bad for you and you should be protected form yourself. This is what happened overnight on Java applets, so likely they will continue the practice with TVs.

History repeats itself (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45883545)

I liked it when televisions were simple beasts which showed programmes as they were being broadcasted. There was no bloat, no lag and they started up instantly. Any other services such as DVDs could be added by the user. Now they are a sluggish mess.

Kind of like Firefox

Who needs TV? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 10 months ago | (#45884081)

I don't even watch TV! I am too sophisticated for that. Indeed, I don't even know what "Duck Dynasty" is. I just have a dumb terminal connected to a Dreamcast.

Ad block plus tv version? Make it so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45886549)

Because fast forwarding is far to archaic in this day and age.

please dont (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45950631)

because firefox os is not ready for prime time.

my zte open with firefox os is slow, it freezes, it stutters...the dev-tools suck too. they crash, are not very useable and the simulator behaves differently than the device. i _hate_ firefox os, at least in its current form.

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