Panasonic and Trade Me have teamed up to take advantage of televisions becoming more and more computer-like, with the launch of the Trade Me app for Panasonic Smart Viera TVs.
As of today, the Trade Me app is available for free in the Viera Connect app store on some models of smart TVs manufactured by the Japanese electronics giant. Update: Panasonic says there are approximately 60,000 TVs in New Zealand households capable of using this app.
Once installed you can browse, bid, and keep a track of listings directly from the TV. Auction alerts pop up during shows to let you know if you've been outbid, and a picture-in-picture mode lets you do all this while channel surfing. There isn't an option to create listings yet.
The app was developed internally at Panasonic, with testing and design input from Trade Me. It joins the Skype, Facebook, YouTube, and Quickflix apps already in Viera Connect.
Today's launch event was postponed until early next year "due to the busy festive season", so I haven't had the chance to test out the app for myself. If my previous experience with smart TV apps is anything to go by, I probably won't be recommending it.
Earlier this year I went to the launch of Samsung's latest line of TVs, including several of its smart varient. Samsung is one of the leading television manufacturers in the world, but its 'smart' TVs were anything but. The apps were slow, the browser and onscreen keyboard unresponsive, and the motion controlled remote felt like a gimmick. I've had marginally better luck with Sony Bravia TVs, but still not to the point where the apps were worth using daily.
Although I haven't used Panasonic smart TVs for a significant length, the idea of dedicated TV apps seems unnecessary when you have over the top solutions like Apple TV, PC media centers, or even a humble $400 tablet connected to the screen by HDMI cable.
Unless that is you're desperate to keep an eye on that jersey you bid on, while watching the rugby.