Last week, there was more to come out of the recent CEATEC
expo than just droolworthy gadgets
. Half a dozen major Japanese television manufacturers -- Matsushita (Panasonic), Sony, Sony Communication Network, Toshiba, Sharp, and Hitachi -- have banded together to form a company called "TV Portal Service Corporation," which we're hoping sounds a little less like a mafia front in Japanese. The new partnership seeks to launch a website on February 1, 2007 called acTVila.com, which would be accessible through each company's net-enabled TV. The site aims to provide "basic information services" at first, and later will move to video-on-demand, "content downloading services" and "payment transactions" by 2008. Business talk aside, we hope that Apple doesn't mind that acTVila's logo looks very inspired by the Picasso-esque MacOS smiley face logo.