Samsung gets TV app-happy at IFA

Video on demand is the most popular type of smart TV software with customers, the company says as it tries to make TVs the hub of the electronic home.

Michael Zoeller, Samsung's European marketing director for TV an audiovisual products, speaking at IFA 2011.
Michael Zoeller, Samsung's European marketing director for TV an audiovisual products, speaking at IFA 2011. Stephen Shankland/CNET

BERLIN--In the world of TV, the move beyond channel surfing to applications is working, Samsung executives said today.

At the beginning of 2011, Samsung set a goal of 1,000 apps for its Smart TV line by the end of the year, said Michael Zoeller, Samsung's European marketing director for TV an audiovisual products, speaking at the IFA electronics show here. "We now have 900. We should reach 1,000 by the end of September," with 10 new apps a day, he said.

The success is fueled by video-on-demand apps, Zoeller said. Perhaps not coincidentally, that's a category close to the ordinary TV experience; other attempts to make TV more interactive have been notable more for their failure than their success.

It's no secret why Samsung is pushing its "Smart TV" effort: it hopes TVs will become the hub of people's electronic, online lives that now include not just PCs but also smartphones, tablets, cameras, videocameras, and more.

"Samsung Smart TV will become the center of the connected home," Zoeller said.

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Today, that's a role more often occupied by a PC, which has a keyboard, Internet connection, and the ability to run software.

Running apps gives TVs a potentially broader role, but video on demand isn't that big a stretch. On stage, Rene Russel of MaxDome said he's happy now that the company's 35,000 titles of on-demand video are available through the app. They're adding more high-definition video now and will add 3D and 5.1 audio next year, he said.

Also endorsing the app push was the popular soccer team Real Madrid and the orchestral powerhouse of the Berliner Philharmoniker, which offer games and concerts through their apps.

Zoeller wants more than video on demand, though, pointing to apps for fitness and education too.

Also at IFA, Samsung also showed off a larger new version of its 3D D8000 LED-based LCD TV, a model with a 60-inch diagonal. Its bezel is only 0.6 inch wide for "virtually edgeless TV," Zoeller said.

"It fully liberates the picture, which has an astonishing effect for 3D," he said. It also has a built-in DVR so people can pause live TV and record shows for later viewing.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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