Nov 15

Samsung held a developer event for the launch of their Internet TV application store in London.

Samsung have currently shipped 20M  LCD televisions in Europe. Internet TV is more about services than surfing e.g. iPlayer is available direct to the TV. Internet TV was made available by the company in 2009, 2010 will see the launch of an application store for the television platform. Applications at launch include Lovefilm (with HD download), Skype, Google maps (<- how useful can this be on a TV) and Facebook. The application store will be available on both Internet enabled TV’s and Blu-ray players. All apps on the store are currently free to install.

As part of the app store launch the Samsung Smart TV Challenge was announced. This consists of a €500,000 fund for applications in Europe. The top prize in the UK is £60,000. All are will be developed using Flash, Javascript and xml. A SDK is available for download.

Samsung SDK

Flash applications are based on Flash Lite 3.1.  SDK includes a visual editor to create widget based UI. It is not necessary to programme in actionscript i.e. Flash, as the visual editor builds this into the application. However the more visually appealing apps have used actionscript. Applications are all launched full screen. This is a disadvantage for applications like Skype and the viewer. If you are in an IM session this could run windowed whilst you are still watching content which would make sense.

There is a mobile API that will enable pop-ups to appear on mobile devices. There was a demo of a TV being controlled via a Samsung Galaxy and an iPad (I was quite impressed that an iPad was used at a Samsung event).

Usage and analytics information will be provided by Samsung to developers.

Notifications will be included in SDK 2.0 as will HTML 5. It is not clear when SDK 2 will be available, but sometime during 2011.

Charles Tigges, BBC, iPlayer, Future Media and Technology

Navigating on a television is not the same as on a PC. A mouse is not the best method of selection (think TV and how it is used). Four direction keys and a back button suffice for current applications.

iPlayer statistics – 6M mobile users, 83M web, 30M TV. A big screen iPlayer is a new development i.e. not being consumed on web or mobile with the advent of internet connected TV’s. A new design is being considered that will address this that will be personal and social based on recommendation etc. in your social circle. Future opportunities may include companion applications to the iPlayer (like Sky TV app) that you can choose programmes on web to watch but the experience will be via the TV.

Further developments will include an iPlayer icon (like red button) that will appear during programming that will link to programme related content or recommendations.

Comment

This is a good start and obviously a glimpse of the future of the living room experience. The usual suspects are all there at the beginning e.g. Skype, iPlayer, LoveFILM but it will be interesting to see who else the platform will attract especially as any app developed needs to be free. Not sure how well this fits with the consumer until windowed apps i.e. those that can be run whilst viewing your programming at the same time are possible.

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