LG’s webOS TVs aren’t the only smart televisions powered by an operating system designed to run web apps. Panasonic has introduced its 2015 line of smart TVs with 4K Ultra HD displays… and they’re powered by Firefox OS.

ff tv_01

Mozilla initially developed Firefox OS to run on smartphones and tablets, and it’s available on a handful of low-cost phones that are primarily available in developing markets. But recently we’ve seen Firefox OS leveraged for use in a Chromecast-like media streaming stick called the Matchstick that you can plug into a TV.

Now Panasonic’s 2015 line of Life+ Screen TVs will feature Firefox OS software.

Mozilla’s operating system will power the user interface and you’ll eventually be able to install TV-compatible apps from the Firefox Marketplace. The apps that will ship with Panasonic’s TVs for streaming video from Netflix and other sites will be developed by Panasonic, not Mozilla.

Panasonic’s Firefox OS TVs should begin shipping this spring. While the company isn’t showing off finished models yet, I did catch up with Mozilla to see a demo video that gives an idea of what the user interface will look like and how the apps will work.

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One reply on “Panasonic announces 4K smart TVs powered by Firefox OS”

  1. Devil’s advocate: do these “smart” TVs actually make the ultra dumb (but highly principled) choice of refusing to, err, well, actually display TV if the signal contains royalty/patent-encumbered codecs like, erm, DVB’s MPEG2 (such as in Italy, Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, India, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVB-T#Countries_and_territories_using_DVB-T) ?

    Or will Mozilla make another convenient/hypocritical, pragmatic/soft decision to let someone else (Cisco, Panasonic) bypass their ethical principles on their behalf? After all, they caved on DRM though have admirably fought the tough fight/futile gesture on video codecs before (Ogg Vorbis, VP8/9)

    What happens when users want to play their old XviD videos, perhaps contained in mkv, avi or flv files? Or heaven forbid, a wmv file? A pale yellow bar at the top of the telly drops down suggesting users switch source to the HDMI port running XBMC/Kodi on a Raspberry Pi?

    Would be nice if they’d just roll FFMPEG into FirefoxOS and then the web really might come to “smart” TVs, embedded in the TV’s firmware (and thus remote control) rather than shoved into the side of the TV through a (Match) stick.

    Would be amusing to hear Mozilla explain how many of the “next X billion” people apparently just waiting to purchase low-spec hardware with FirefoxOS, in the ‘third’ world, can afford to buy 4K TVs to help spread the web via FirefoxOS on telly.

    That said, hopefully FirefoxOS now finally has some relevance to those English-speaking ‘first’ world people (like me) who’d rather see Mozilla fight harder in the desktop space to get back some market share/relevancy rather and don’t have too much interest in the non-English speaking next X billion.

    At least those countries that bother to broadcast Full (eventually Ultra?) HD DVB content generally use MPEG4 and thus presumably can leverage Cisco’s h.264 gift. Too bad TV channels in even ‘developed’ countries like Australia have basically abandoned Full HD even for nationally important sports events. So the slogan for Australia will likely be “Panasonic 4K with FirefoxOS: Great for those live (SD MPEG2 576p) sporting events!”

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