Sometime in September last year, we brought you news of plans made afoot by LG, Philips, and Sharp, to develop a standardized SDK (Software Development Kit) for a multi-platform Smart TV app system as announced during IFA 2011. The aim was to enable developers to create applications compatible with all three brands' Smart TV platforms via a beta SDK. Well, we just got wind that the coalition is now official. LG Electronics and TP Vision (the new firm in charge of Philips' TVs) have announced the formal collaboration of the Smart TV Alliance Consortium. What's odd, however, is that there's no mention of Sharp Corporation in the official announcement although it is stated that "names of other players joining the Alliance will be announced accordingly on the Alliance’s website".
According to their press release, Smart TV Alliance's mission is to create a non-proprietary ecosystem to encourage developers to build platform-independent applications based on web standards like HTML5. Similar to the mobile landscape, the Smart TV playing field is plagued by a multitude of diverse operating systems designed for each brand's displays. "Before today, the Smart TV industry was a very difficult market for both TV manufacturers and application developers as TV’s from different brands used different platforms and technologies," said Mr Bong-seok Kwon of LG Electronics, who's also the President of Smart TV Alliance. The present plan is to announce specifications of SDK 2.0 to developers, followed by the actual release of the software before the end of 2012. If the Smart TV Alliance can convince other major HDTV players like Samsung, Sony, and Panasonic to come on board, then we can safely anticipate the unification of Smart TV platforms in the years to come.