SMART TV – the TV of the future ?

I am the person that not watches a lot of  TV, mostly because I am always buzy with other interesting stuff but maybe it also has to do with the fact that I still have a very small oldschool TV in my house 🙂 . It looks more or less like in following picture:

Picture of my old television

Image 1 : Not so SMART TV

I still like my TV but there is finally a reason that I am more interested in TV ever than before. That is because Samsung is doing really great stuff the last year with the introduction of Samsung apps. And recently (at Adobe MAX) Samsung announced that application development with Adobe AIR 2.5 will be possible very very soon

Welcome to the world of SMART TV 🙂

Samsung Smart TV

Image 2: Samsung Smart TV

From TV to Internet Connected TV to  SMART TV

TVs are getting smarter and that is a good thing. I think TVs want to be a little bit like phones 😉

We saw it evolving with phones the last years and now it all is happening with TVs. Samsung is a great example in how they make their TVs smarter. Samsung has always been innovative (Touch of Color, LEDTV, 3D,…) Samsung apps is the latest innovation Samsung did to make the TV smarter.

In 2008 they started with Infolink which was the first internet connected TV made by Samsung. You could watch simple information like stock quotes, weather,… In 2009 they added Yahoo widgets and later in 2009 they added  full HD video streaming. This year in 2010 they introduced their full application model called Samsung Apps. This opens a lot of opportunities for consumers but also for us, the developers !

Samsung believes that to the end of 2010 17% of all TVs will be SMART TVs. And they go even further by forecasting 70% in 2014 ! This is really great if it all comes true :-).

The market is growing very fast because Samsung also build in Samsung Apps to all his blue- ray players, all his home theatre systems and 80% of 40″+ TVs.

Not yet in their fridges but maybe that is something they think about for the future 🙂 Yeah actually it would be cool to have an AIR enabled fridge🙂

Applications

If we look to the apps that we can see 5 different categories :

  • information : google maps ,…
  • gaming : Texas Holdem Poker,…
  • social media : facebook, twitter,…
  • video : hulu, netflix, skype,…
  • kids : lot of kids content…

If we make an app for Samsung then we need some support from Samsung also to get it distributed. Well , actually Samsung does a lot of effort in providing us a big audience, an open platform (as open as possible) and a simple process to develop apps.

One cool thing to know is that Samsung made a commitment to give some money to developers who make a TV application. They offer ….$500,000 in Prizes which is very nice !

The contest is called Free the TV and if you live in the USA it ends in 6 days so you will need to hurry if you want to catch some money :-).

More information on http://www.freethetvchallenge.com/:

FREE THE TV CHALLENCE

Image 3: Smart TV Challenge USA

If you live in Europe, there is still some time (+-1 month) for the same contest: More information on http://www.samsungsmarttvchallenge.eu :

SMART TV challenge

Image 4: SMART TV Challenge EU

To make sure we have a big audience,  Samsung also put a lot of effort  in promoting Samsung apps in TV ads like you can see in following video:

To develop applications for Samsung right now you can use JavaScript/XML (Ajax) or Flash Lite 3.1.

But Samsung announced at Adobe MAX that they will support  Adobe AIR 2.5 in their devices and that is fantastic news!  They will release more information on developing Samsung Apps in the next upcoming months.

Another cool thing to know about the Samsung app model is that you have the power to decide how much you charge for you app, where you want to launch (territories) and what devices you want to be on.

To start you have to register at the Samsung developer forum. Following picture shows the general workflow when building an application:

Samsung developer forum

Image 5: Samsung developer forum

The URL for the developer forum where you can download the Samsung Apps SDK is located at http://www.samsungdforum.com .

When you submit your application there will be a Samsung QA process. This is just to check if you followed eg  the UX guidelines etc… (which are available also at the Samsung developer forum). After your application is published you will be able to find reporting  and analytics in the Samsung Apps Seller Office which will be launched early 2011.

I actually can’t wait to start developing AIR applications for TV and when I start developing I know for sure that my old TV goes to the second hand store and a brand new Samsung will be standing in my living room.

I want watch my applications from my sofa and yes I think SMART TV is the way to go 😉

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