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Firefox Displays Mozilla Open Source Operating Systems Television Hardware

First Smart TVs Powered By Firefox OS On Sale In Europe, Worldwide Soon 119

An anonymous reader writes: The first smart TVs powered by Firefox OS have gone on sale in Europe. Panasonic's line of Viera smart TVs includes six that are powered by Firefox OS — CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680 — including their first curved LED LCD TV. The full global launch of the TVs is expected “in the coming months.” From the Mozilla blog: "We’re happy to partner with Panasonic to bring the first Smart TVs powered by Firefox OS to the world,” said Andreas Gal, Mozilla CTO. “With Firefox and Firefox OS powered devices, users can enjoy a custom and connected Web experience and take their favorite content (apps, videos, photos, websites) across devices without being locked into one proprietary ecosystem or brand.”
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First Smart TVs Powered By Firefox OS On Sale In Europe, Worldwide Soon

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  • Updates (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:41AM (#49715937) Homepage
    Yes it is nice to have another Linux system available on TV's.
    But more important is for how long, if at all, the manufacturer will support security and other updates.
    Most important is if we can install a system of our own choice.
    • Why is it nice to see any OS on a TV? This is how we end up with ads inserted over ads, a scenario that should never have ever plaid out but somehow it has.

      • Re:Updates (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:35AM (#49716117)
        i'm hoping for Adblock to work on commercial TV
        • by rvw ( 755107 )

          i'm hoping for Adblock to work on commercial TV

          How will that work if ads are not coming from a different source, and are not marked somehow to be ads? Maybe this will change, but now it's a continuous stream, and yes there is an online tv guide, but that doesn't tell us anything about commercial breaks.

        • Transparent ad-blocking SQUID proxy. I've done this before to handle annoying devices. They don't even know it's happening. As a side-benefit you can add in some caching, if you like, although in rare cases that sort of thing causes problems (when people dick up the pragmas.)

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I have a Panasonic smart TV. The only place it has ads is in the app store, nowhere else. If it did I would have returned it, or not bought it in the first place. Not all smart devices are maximum evil, ads everywhere all the time etc.

        Mine has an OS based on FreeBSD. I use the smart features to watch YouTube pretty much every day. Various electronics and woodworking video blogs mainly. I use the network media player from time to time too. It's a good system from 2012.

        • Re:Updates (Score:5, Interesting)

          by 605dave ( 722736 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @08:23AM (#49716933) Homepage

          Well I bought a Panasonic TV two years ago and have to go through a "Home" screen before I get what I want. Oh, and there are ads on this home screen. But the worst part? Ads would occasionally appear over the content when using the volume controls. That's right, hit volume up and get an ad from United Airlines!

          I did manage to turn off the ads but swore I'd never buy another Panasonic.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          I have a Samsung TV from around 2008.

          It isn't smart.

          On Black Friday last year I added a Chromecast to it for $23. The Chromecast came with a bunch of freebies (most notably $20 in Play Store credit, which is actually useful to me).

          So, either for free (or for $23, depending on how one counts), my TV became "smart."

          And the only place it has ads is...gosh, I don't know that I've ever seen an ad on it.

          When the Chromecast becomes woefully outdated I'll plug a different widget into the TV.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      Most important is if we can install a system of our own choice.

      Who cares? No really outside of a few geeks who are likely already running out and buying dumb TVs due to the typical anti-corporate agenda type anger at company developed software, who really cares? The average consumer doesn't, and the average geek has shunned smartTVs for the ultra slow, ultra crap "smart" experience they typically bring.

      The vast majority of people barely know how a SmartTV works and are happy enough when the program guide correctly displays.
      The small minority who do use the Smarts are h

      • Re:Updates (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:46AM (#49716145)

        Linux is in other mainstream devices, like Tivo and Android. It's not a geek thing. It's a sensible choice to make when designing high end products. Saves development costs, saves royalty costs, higher quality than most commercial embedded operating systems especially with networking and security. Why wouldn't a manufacturer want to use it?

        • I wasn't making any comment on the manufacturer's choice, but rather the assertion from the GP that it is important that we can install our own OS on the TV.

          The "geek thing" is the idea of being able to choose the OS having any weight on the product choice what so ever. Tinkering is a rarity amongst the consuming general populous.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I haven't even connected my 2014 Panasonic Viera, I bought it for its awesome black level (last plasma generation)

        It's connected to a media center that I built, with a nice 400mbps connections attached to it.

        Yaahrr haahrrr

      • Re:Updates (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2015 @04:34AM (#49716285) Journal

        The whole idea of a "smart TV" is retarded because it ignores a fundamental truth, which is 1.- "Smart"devices that are successful are in markets with high turnover so the consumer is able to run the latest apps, for example smart phones and tablets, while 2.- TVs are devices that are typically kept by the consumer for 5-10 years which means the "Smart" part will quickly become as outdated and useless as a Palm Pilot.

        Since FirefoxOS hasn't been out long enough lets use Android as an example, lets say you bought your smart TV 6 years ago, right around the time I bought my mother her new set (which is still working great and will probably last at least a couple more years if not more) that would put you on on Android 1.5, AKA Cupcake [wikipedia.org]...now how many apps today can run on Cupcake? Very damned few. What about the hardware, could it have been updated? Since I had one of the early 1.6 (AKA Donut) I can tell you that while you MIGHT have been able to go to 2.0 it would have been painful to use, as the average device then was similar to these specs [gsmarena.com], a 530Mhz ARM11 with just 192Mb of RAM and 512Mb of flash...now remember that most smart TVs have lower specs than your average phone so how long do you think it would take before it was just painful to use?

        At the end of the day I think that other than malware targets these things are gonna quickly become irrelevant, the OS will go out of date looong before the TV dies, making for a security nightmare as vulnerabilities in both the OS and the apps won't be able to be patched as the hardware will just be too weak to run anything newer, and for the consumer the apps will lose support and using the ones that come with it will be about as pleasant as trying to surf modern sites on the phone I listed above. So other than a checkbox on the side of the box? IMHO this is just fucking stupid any way you cut it.

        • by Bongo ( 13261 )

          Good point, for my own experience, it is nice to have a working iPlayer on the panny Viera—it makes it feel "modern"—but craptastic to keep seeing a "Myspace" ad on the home screen—makes it feel ancient. They seem to think you can just dump an "ecosystem" on these things and make it feel "smart", but it is a fine line between "useful" and feeling instead that you've just driven into a run down small town in the middle of nowhere. Talk about making your shiny gadget feel like it is obsolete

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I think we are going to need some mass consumer legal action to force the issue. In the UK the Sale of Goods Act requires devices to last a "reasonable length of time", which for cheap TVs is usually thought to be about 5 years and for expensive ones maybe 10 years. If the TV breaks down before then the retailer, not the manufacturer, has to sort it out. If it was half way through its expected life they could either fix it or give you a partial refund for lost functionality. A dead TV would get you a 50% re

          • You missed the bigger issue friend which is that this thing will end up an attack vector because it can't be patched and the apps and OS will be abandoned long before the set dies.

            Sure if its one of those that uses Ethernet you could just pull the plug, but what about the new ones that come with WiFi? How many consumers are gonna be able to 1.- Access their router or modem's configuration, 2.- Read the access list AND know which device is what, especially when many just use some string of numbers instead of

        • ...At the end of the day I think that other than malware targets these things are gonna quickly become irrelevant, the OS will go out of date looong before the TV dies, making for a security nightmare as vulnerabilities in both the OS and the apps won't be able to be patched as the hardware will just be too weak to run anything newer, and for the consumer the apps will lose support and using the ones that come with it will be about as pleasant as trying to surf modern sites on the phone I listed above. So other than a checkbox on the side of the box? IMHO this is just fucking stupid any way you cut it.

          Says you, the consumer of said hardware.

          Tell me again why a manufacturer or reseller of said hardware would give a shit about their hardware becoming slightly out of date and lacking features in 2-3 years?

          At the beginning of the day, they give a shit about one thing; revenue.

          At the end of the day, they give a shit about one thing; revenue.

          In other words, the vendors of the world already have a solution for you. It's engineered right into the product.

  • Just hope that it can run netflix.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Just hope that it can run netflix.

      I don't understand why you have been down-modded, but:

      The first smart TVs powered by Firefox OS have gone on sale today in Europe. [...] The new Panasonic TVs ship with a decent number of Firefox OS apps, including a Netflix app that supports 4K streaming, [...]

      "Sorry, Netflix is not available in your country yet.": Netflix - Greece [netflix.com] (that's in Europe... and not just in Europe, but in the European Union also... actually "Europe" IS A FUCKING GREEK NAME!)

      • by Whiteox ( 919863 )

        Thanks for your response. The problem with the majority of Android based smart TV is that the updates are custom written by a software company in Hong Kong. For some reason they have crippled enough of the OS to stop certain apps from working. Netflix is one of them and that's why I asked.
        The reason for why I've been modded down is that there is a rogue mod out there and has been modding down me and others for no good reason.

  • Not Interested (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:49AM (#49715959)
    This is almost as bad as "smart" platforms in cars. Way too much software functionality will be put into devices that will last far longer than the manufacturer's interest in upgrading or supporting it (especially since they'll probably have no interest in the first place). Any TV that lists "smart" as a feature should be avoided like those that list "3D."
    • Re:Not Interested (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:01AM (#49716005)

      YES... exactly.

      Want a smart TV, get a dumb TV and put a small footprint computer on it, e.g. in my case a Mac Mini.

      It gets updates, the RAM can be upgraded, it has expandable local storage, has USB ports, Bluetooth, Ethernet, Wifi

      It can play games, run a massive variety of Open Source and Proprietary software.

      As new protocols are developed it is far more likely to be kept up to date.

      And it may well cost less.

      • I have been looking for 4k TV, but have only found smart TVs for sale, so I am still waiting for reasonable priced stupid TV with 4k, as I really do not want the so called smart TV.

        Currently the only way to get a non smart 4k TV seems to be a computer monitor, but the prices for the larger such are at least double the smart TV prices.

    • Re: Not Interested (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the long run you will not be able to avoid it. You can only buy what's on sale, and your existing devices will not last forever - or will be banned outright. Do you remember when digital extremists vowed to stop Trusted Computing at all costs? Well, now Trusted Computing hardware is present in ALL computers, Linux has to support it, and there's nothing you can do about it. Same with DRM. Big Money *ALWAYS* wins.

    • You can't really buy good TVs nowadays without those "smart" features, but that SoC hardware is pretty cheap nowadays, so I don't think it's affecting the price too much. Just buy a TV based on it's picture, price, and general physical qualities. Fortunately, you can still treat your TV like a simple monitor and leave all the media wrangling to a dedicated box, whether it's a console, Roku, Amazon Fire, or some roll-your-own PC-based solution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:52AM (#49715971)

    Personally, I want my women smart and my TV dumb. Seems like it wouldn't be very entertaining the other way around...

  • Does it also download files to your TV without asking you for consent?

    Like the Firefox webbrowser does [debian.org] ("libgmpopenh264.so"):

    On first start, Firefox downloads the "OpenH264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc." plugin (which is a binary blob) and enables it automatically. This happens without asking the user for consent.

    There is another class/type of software that also downloads and installs programs/libraries to your computer without asking the user for consent. You know what that is?

    Malware and computer viruses.

  • in search of a problem. Seriously - which problem does this sort of stuff solve ??
  • Hope it's better... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sooner Boomer ( 96864 ) <sooner@boomr.gmail@com> on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:10AM (#49716037) Journal

    ...than my android powered LG 47G2 "smart" TV - it SUCKS! Google updated android in spite of everything I tried to prevent it, and broke a LOT of functions. And there's no way to back out of the "upgrades". I called LG and they blame google. Google says it is an issue with LG. I bet the same thing happens with Firefox OS and these new TVs.

    • I have more faith in firefox although their browser sucks on my android 4.1.3 phone, than I do in google. Hell I have more faith in MS than google. I hate app-le with a passion though.
    • I bet the same thing happens with Firefox OS and these new TVs.

      I bet it doesn't. I bet what happens is that you want an upgrade, and don't get one.

      Barring a standard port like a cablecard slot that lets me plug an embedded computer into my TV, I certainly don't want a smart TV, because updates.

      You can build a SFF PC for under $100 that will play 1080p video just fine. Why would you ever buy a smart TV? It's just going to be an idiot in short order.

      • Barring a standard port like a cablecard slot that lets me plug an embedded computer into my TV

        There is a standard port. It's called MHL.

        You can build a SFF PC for under $100 that will play 1080p video just fine. Why would you ever buy a smart TV?

        If you build a PC, you have the maintenance headache of keeping the PC's operating system and applications up to date. And in case you figure that out, which parts do you use for a $100 SFF PC so that I can recommend them to others?

    • ...than my android powered LG 47G2 "smart" TV - it SUCKS! Google updated android in spite of everything I tried to prevent it, and broke a LOT of functions. And there's no way to back out of the "upgrades". I called LG and they blame google. Google says it is an issue with LG. I bet the same thing happens with Firefox OS and these new TVs.

      And why would we not assume this?

      Think about it for a minute, you're an owner of a product with a 7-10 year useful lifespan. You're being approached by vendors that have a notorious reputation for going out of date with their products within months, sometimes sooner. Are you going to be willing to partner with any of them without being able to point the finger back at them when shit goes wrong?

      And we see this shit happen all the time. It's gotten to the point where they should just call it the legal fing

  • by lopaka1998 ( 1352441 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:15AM (#49716051)
    Just what I needed... a TV that...

    * updates automatically every few weeks whether I want it to or not.
    * sends *anonymous* viewing data to "improve the experience", against my will.
    * changes the interface on the tv, and meanings of the buttons on the remote every 3rd or so update.
    * that I will need to install adblock plus on to get rid of ads or keep them under control.
    * that I will spend needless hours trying to find how to activate the power button after an update reconfigures the power button to require the auxillary button to be pushed down at the same time.
    * requires that I install plug-ins that also self update just to get the tv to operate the way I want it to.
    * that requires a unplug/ replug every few days as it runs out of ram and slows down channel switching and video output to a crawl.
    * that as an organization, doesn't listen to it's user base and does what it wants instead.


    NO THANKS, MOZILLA!!!
    • I heard you can install linux on the TV instead : rolling release with systemd, KDE 5 and of course firefox. Another TV can work for the lifetime of a TV (remember when a TV lasted 20 years?). You can buy a TV that runs AIX or HP-UX, but it costs $200,000.
      The z/OS TV is best, but requires expertise on your part and costs $1,000,000 + $20,000 a month fee (if you spend a bit more, you can activate the Channel Changing Processor, which is disabled in the low end configuration)

    • Wake up. Very few people care about smart TVs - they just want a TV Essentially something they can plug other boxes into and can also receive OTA broadcasts. I don't remember anyone clamouring for all this half baked UI "experience" shit and 3rd rate "apps" being squeezed into TVs but manufacturers seem to think we want it and because there are hardly any "dumb" TVs around anymore we can only buy smart TVs so the manufacturers claim its what we want. Circular reasoning , much?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      All LG Tv sets do that. They send back data to LG about your viewing habits.

      And they wont let you install Adblock.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      You'd get a mod point from me if I had any, I don't want a 'smart' TV for these reasons.

  • How are you not locked into one brand? Unless you have an option to load chromeos or something else into the tv... and by option I mean and easy boot option not a hack!
  • by kooky45 ( 785515 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @04:03AM (#49716181)
    Can I run AdBlock on it?
  • If the choices finally come down to that, I will choose "NO TV".

    I had a Westinghouse 37W1; pure monitor with every input from composite to DVI Worked beautifully for a long time until the backlight finally went out.

    Settled for a "TV", but have never tried anything but HDMI-1, and don't use the audio on that (TV volume is always 0), 'cause the sound comes from the receiver.

    The day it dies, if I cannot buy a TV (or, at least, large screen monitor) that works without an internet connection, then over-the-air/

  • Not sure what "smart" exactly means, but on the tiniest TVs with bad sound and a bit of light leaking out of the LCD panel, you now have graphical menus, media player and USB port.
    Seen one the other days, the owner was using it as speakers for his recent netbook (plugged to the sound RCA input meant for use along composite or VGA input) and the TV was switching off every 15 minutes, against his will.

    Perhaps "smart" means internet access on top of that? Open the TV and disconnect wifi antennas. Ruin the USB

    • I with no better word to choose "religiously" (and i hate religion) have been staying with tube tv's and thank science for craigslist and the goodwill. I know for a fast that the tubes will outlast all of these "pc/tv's, smart (thats a laugh) tv's and anything else short of (because LED's AND OLED's have yet to be proven or dis-proven) Tv's in the long run.
      • EDIT---> I meant I know for a fact not a fast. I have yet to understand slashdot's retarded system. I am sorry if a retarded person feels offended as the comment I made holds you in a much higher regard than slashdot and by mentioning slashdot and a retarded person together I may have verbally/emotionally injured a person who is much smarter than slashdot and it's wares, and late editors, without regard to retardation.
  • I don't use Firefox on my android 4.1.3 because i cannot touch it without scrolling out of control. Chrome is as slow as molasses but does load pages properly. Firefox also loads properly and faster. My default Samsung browser works 10 times faster (Samsung galaxy reverb.) I know i am behind the times but such should not matter. The only gripe with my phone's default browser is Slashdot and their new mobile bullshit format. In my default (internet as it is called) browser the top most discussed links are no
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @05:13AM (#49716391)
    .... I'm sorry Dave watching that much porn is not good for you. I cannot let you do that. Time to get off the sofa and run round the block.
  • ...it'll take 5 minutes while "checking you plugins for compatibility". ...Actually I really like Firefox, just not that part.

  • And it still sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @06:32AM (#49716577) Homepage

    Sorry, but ALL smart TV's suck.

    Give us a place to dock a Roku or ATV and call it done. LG/Sony/Panasonic/Etc all utterly suck at the "smart" part. actually they all utterly suck at software and firmware in general. All of them have user interfaces that are train wrecks.

    These Firefox Tv's will have a bastardization all over in them. Like how SHARP shovels advertisements at you. Buy a $2600 Tv set and you have Ad's on screen unless you unplug the network and never use the smart functions. WTF is that?

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I have a 52" TV. It is as smart as the PC it is connected to. Basically it is a big monitor. I paid 500EUR for it lasy year. Sure, it isn't 4K, but that I do not (yet) need for a TV.

      If I needed a seperate PC for it, I could easily add a RaspPi to it and use that. Or any other solution I desire. I tried the 'smart' part of it and it was pretty stoopid. There was nothing I could not do already with the downside of not being able to do more.

  • Let me see... A shitty "OS" on a low-powered, very cheap SoC and difficult to upgrade? What can go wrong?
    • Let me see... A shitty "OS" on a low-powered, very cheap SoC and difficult to upgrade? What can go wrong?

      Let me see... You would prefer a solid "OS" on a nicely embedded device, along with the flexibility to upgrade easily over the 5-7 year expected lifetime of a TV product?

      No problem. Hope you don't mind taking out a multi-year loan for that $15,000 television set.

      The words very cheap have never rung so hard in your wallet. And today, when something doesn't work due to obsolescence, the answer is to throw it away and buy a new one, thus defining the problem as there isn't a problem here, according to the ve

      • You did not understand what I meant. A cheap SoC is okay if you have a good OS to put on it, and a toy OS such as FirefoxOS is usable if you have hardware to throw on it. The problem happens when you have the combination of a bad OS and a cheap SoC, then you're asking for trouble. As for upgrades, see the trouble with Android and Samsung cellphones for example.
    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      It could be worse: It could be running Android.

      Honestly, is more competition in this space a problem? Is your objection to "Smart TV's" in general or the OS specifically?

      It's not like you can't just use a Matchstick or Roku box if you want. At worst, smart TV features are harmless.

  • I understand what they want to convey but redefining words is not the way to go about doing it.
  • You're still not going to fool me. Years ago when my old CRT TV failed, I upgraded to a largish screen LCD. Works perfectly fine, still, even close to 7 years later.

    I didn't need a 3d tv, or a 4k later. I really don't want a "smart" tv, despite the deliciously ironic name. I'm not going to upgrade every couple years, no matter what you try.

    I half expect "smell-o-vision" next.

  • Which *I* control.

    Even if the "Smart" tv were open to modify I wouldn't buy it. I *like* the display and the cpu being in different boxes.

    The TV needs to show me a decent watchable image.
    The htpc needs to fetch the video and turn it into something the TV can show me. With some pretty htpc skin if I want it.

    If I want some new feature or to use some new codec that needs a bigger cpu I can get a 'new' $100-200 junkpile computer.
    That seems to be plenty to watch tv do low end web & email stuff from 10 feet

  • A further 13 percent said that advanced AI would be a net negative for humans, and only a slight majority said it would be a net positive

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