SUNNYVALE, California: Yahoo has designed a new 'widget engine' linking the web with TV sets, and signed deals with electronics manufacturers including Sony and Samsung, who will install the software on some of their models.

The 'widgets' will enable TV viewers to access online services without having to launch an internet browser, and a source told the Wall Street Journal that usage rates were "through the roof" during testing.

Samsung, LG, Vizio and Toshiba have also inked agreements with Yahoo to install the 'widgets', which were developed in conjunction with computer chip manufacturer Intel.

Observers argue the system will help Yahoo develop its capacity on "three screen" – online, TV and cellphone – but that further work is required to boost the company's overall position.

Says Andrew Frank, analyst at technology research firm Gartner: "This has great long-term potential for Yahoo; it increases their reach and bolsters their claim to being a 'three screen' media company, which is the prize nowadays." 

However, he also warns: "I just don't know how quickly they will achieve their goal."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff