Samsung TVs add apps, web browsing, multi-room sharing
Samsung is smudging the line between consumer electronics and service providers with its 2011 line of plasma TVs with built-in wi-fi.
The new TVs come complete with internet-enabled program guides; some models will offer web access directly on screen. The TV maker also announced a brand new store for apps, among them will be HBO Go and Skype.
Some models will have wi-fi built in, others will require an adapter. Either way, the new television sets will be capable of distributing video among DLNA-enabled devices, including to other TVs in a household. Samsung is calling the feature AllShare.
Samsung unveiled 15 new plasma TV models, all with thin screens and supporting 3D (the company said it developed new 3D processing and new, lighter glasses). Screen sizes range from 43 inches to 64 inches.
Some of the models will be what Samsung is calling Smart Hubs. These TVs will have built-in wi-fi, and will enable viewers to search for content on the TV and also via Samsung Apps or other online services.
Smart Hub TVs will also include a recommendation engine, called Your Video, that develops recommendations based on a user's viewing history.
The company's D8000 series of TVs will incorporate a web browser for viewing web content directly on screen. The remotes for models in this line will include full QWERTY keyboards. Viewers can add a camera, download the Skype app, and make video calls using their TVs as screens.
More than 1,400 titles of HBO programming will be available to HBO subscribers through the HBO Go app, which will be offered later this year. Authentication will come through their current participating television provider.
Samsung said HBO Go can be installed directly on one of its Smart TVs or Smart Blu-ray players.
"Our HBO GO application is a perfect fit for the Samsung Apps platform, providing an excellent value proposition to both HBO subscribers and Samsung customers," said Bernadette Aulestia, senior vice president, domestic network distribution & marketing, HBO. "By streaming HBO GO content directly onto a Samsung TV, we deliver exactly what consumers want - on demand, quality entertainment at no additional charge to HBO subscribers."
Cox Communications recently began making HBO Go available.