GameTree TV will bring casual games to your TV (video)

Blake Lewin, the president of Transgaming Digital Home, showed off a new TV-based GameTree TV game platform at the Intel Developer Forum this week in San Francisco. Transgaming has teamed up with Intel to create a smarter TV. Intel makes the code-named Sodaville chips — which are highly integrated consumer electronics processors — for set-top boxes. Those set-tops can link to the internet and download applications to the set-top box.

And GameTree TV runs on the set-top box, allowing you to download games to your box and play them on your TV set. The fact that it runs on a next-generation set-top box, with a 1.5-gigahertz processor and a PowerVR graphics capability, means that you will be able to play some pretty cool casual games. Lewin showed you could play a game such as PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies or World of Goo. These games are like snacks for the family to play before they watch a movie. You could rent or buy the games as you like. It’s a lot like the Netflix video streaming service offered on a wide variety of set-top boxes.

Lewin showed off the user interface for the service. It is intuitive. You can use a wireless remote control to navigate through the selections of games and then play them with the remote control.The control is a lot like a wireless computer mouse, allowing you to maneuver a cursor on screen. Transgaming has a software development kit that will let publishers bring their PC games to the TV.

Transgaming is licensing the GameTree TV digital game download service to entertainment providers such as cable TV companies or telephone companies, who can offer it as one more service above and beyond music and movie services. Lewin said the company has a European customer but can’t say who it is yet. Intel, which invested in Transgaming, is introducing the company to distributors. There are 30 or so games launching this fall and 50 in the near future. If Transgaming can sell lots of games for low prices, then it could be one more force disrupting the console game business. But keep in mind that this is just one of many different kinds of “smart TVs” that are emerging in the new future. Rivals range from Samsung to Boxee. Check out our video below.

DB2010Getting content noticed is a challenge for everyone making apps. We’ll cover the topic at DiscoveryBeat 2010. Startups and big companies alike should consider entering our Needle in the Haystack discovery business idea competition. Early bird discounts are available until September 22. Sponsors can contact us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To buy tickets, click on this link.