Toshiba Places preview Toshiba Places preview

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Toshiba Places preview

Toshiba Places, Toshiba’s internet media service for TVs and other net connected gizmos, has been knocking around for quite some time now, but the first devices supporting it won’t be coming to the UK until May. With this in mind, we thought we’d run down some of smarter features of the service – check them out here and see what Apple’s iTunes team could learn a thing or two from.

Olivier Van Wynendaele, Toshiba’s IPTV head in Europe, was on hand at Toshiba’s UK Spring launch just outside of Watford today to run through Toshiba Places ahead of its UK launch on two new TV lines, the UL and SL series, in May.

Also available on laptops, set top boxes in France, and soon tablets as well, Toshiba Places lets you peruse various internet TV and media services from the comfort of your sofa – the version we saw tapped into Flickr, Dailymotion and a French movie rental service, for instance – with a pleasant, clean black and red UI that’s much faster to nip around than your average EPG, or Samsung’s achingly slow IP TV service.

Sending content to other Places users is surprisingly easy

All par for the course, but where Toshiba Places really deviates from bogstandard IPTV efforts is by assigning users with accounts, and once logged in, your feeds and favourites will appear. You can send links to pictures and videos on the service to friends on Toshiba Places quickly and easily, but best of all, you can pause a video on one device, then sign in on another and pick up where you left off – handy if you own both a Toshiba TV and Toshiba laptop, say.

We saw a Dailymotion video paused on one Toshiba Places TV, then continued seamlessly on another where it stopped

Wynendaele wouldn’t reveal what UK partners would feature on Toshiba Places just yet, beyond saying that “we will supply access to [BBC] iPlayer through Toshiba Places” this year, but we’d hazard a guess that Flickr and YouTube could play a prominent role.

What we won’t be seeing anytime soon in the UK however are Toshiba set top boxes running Toshiba Places, as is the case in France. “Our target is to deliver outside France in the TV first…not set top boxes,” he told us.

That’s a bit of a shame considering Toshiba Places’ best features seem like they’d require a critical mass to really be useful. Still, we like what we see, and we can’t help but wonder if an iTunes cloud streaming service might work in a similar way, should it ever materialise.

Out May | £TBC | Toshiba

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