Toshiba and Netgem have announced a “multifunction adapter” — otherwise known as a set-top box — to allow users to connect their televisions to online services, including video-on-demand, and share their own media with friends and relatives. The first deployment of Toshiba Places will be in France, with other European countries to follow. Meanwhile, Toshiba is also backing Yahoo! Connected TV in its latest televisions.

Toshiba Places promises to provide access from any screen, including televisions, personal computers and tablet devices. “Toshiba Places is an example of rich and efficient cooperation between different players in our ecosystem” explained Philippe Delahaye, the president of Toshiba Systems France.

Christophe Aulnette, managing director of Netgem, said working with Toshiba to develop new interactive solutions for connected televisions is part of their “Netbox inside” strategy. He said: “Our vision is that one day all TVs will be connected to the Internet.”

The Toshiba Multifunction Adapter developed with Netgem is a customised version of the new Netgem N5000 platform announced at IBC. It offers simple, visually rich and intuitive navigation combining broadcast channels with the added value services available through the Toshiba Places online portal.

The adapter includes a high-definition digital terrestrial television tuner, allowing navigation between television and interactive services through a single remote control. It has wired and wireless network connections and supports UPnP Universal Plug and Play for integration into a home network. It ships with 4 gigabytes of flash memory.

Netgem has devices installed in 3 million homes worldwide and was ranked as the leading supplier of IPTV set-top boxes in Western Europe in 2009.

The Toshiba multifunction adapter will be available in France from October, at 99 euro, coming to other European countries in 2011.

Toshiba has also just launched televisions including Yahoo! Connected TV software, notably its WX800 Cinema Series 3D TV.

“Toshiba is dedicated to developing a brand of televisions that truly enrich the viewing experience,” said Ron Smith, responsible for marketing Toshiba digital products in America. “By partnering with Yahoo!, the proven leader in delivering compelling Internet content directly to TV screens, we are able to provide consumers with features that enable them to enjoy a variety of entertainment content directly from their remote.”

Ron Jacoby, vice president for Connected TV at Yahoo! cited iSuppli forecasts that worldwide sales of all internet-enabled TVs are expected to exceed 87 million units by 2013. He said: “Yahoo! is focused on expanding the reach of Yahoo! Connected TV and ensuring the best Internet-connected TV experience for our consumers, publishers, and developers.”

Yahoo! Connected TV now has partnerships with Samsung, LG, Sony and Toshiba, among other manufacturers, many of which are also developing their own connected television solutions, while Sony is also a partner with Google TV.