Social Networking Meets Television with MySpace TV

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Web TV has a new face today, and it’s not Google, Apple or any of the other brands we’ve been hearing might launch a television service. No, the new future of Web TV apparently belongs to MySpace. (Really!)

Launching this Spring, MySpace TV plans to stream television content to web-enabled devices (the “coming soon” site mentions “watching on a TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone”), accompanied by a number of interactive features to tie the content into the site’s social aspect. “Why just ‘watch’ TV when you can experience TV?” the site explains, “MySpace TV gives you more information about your favorite shows, videos and artists, and provides you real-time engagement with your friends to get you closer to the shows you love.”

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The launch was announced by CEO Tim Vanderhook and co-owner Justin Timberlake at CES, with Vanderhook explaining in the press release, “Our belief was that we could enhance the TV experience by increasing viewers’ ability to connect to both content and each other.” Timberlake put it in a more ad-speak-friendly way: “We’re ready to take television and entertainment to the next step by upgrading it to the social networking experience.”

The project will launch with music channels using the site’s existing catalog of music videos and songs, before expanding to encompass “movies, news, sports and reality channels, with a growing lineup of today’s most popular broadcast and on-demand content.” MySpace is partnering with Panasonic for the launch, with MySpace TV available on the latter’s VIERA Connect platform, which allows certain Panasonic televisions access to web-enabled content. Rollout is expected to happen over the next six months.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.