HomeSync integrates Android with your TV (hands-on)

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February 26, 2013 8:04 AM PST / Updated: February 26, 2013 8:40 AM PST

BARCELONA, Spain--Announced on Saturday at Mobile World Congress, the Samsung HomeSync is a home theater media hub that aims to inject a little Android OS into your TV via your Galaxy handset. Slated for April, the device can stream videos, games, and other media from your Galaxy phone to your big-screen TV through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Think of it as an Apple TV for the Samsung faithful.

Design
The Samsung HomeSync is packaged in a minimalistic glossy black box, and it's about the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of one another. When placed on a flat counter top, it sits at a slight angle upward and you can see Samsung's name emblazoned on the left side.

On the back are several output connections, which include an Ethernet port, a digital audio port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a Micro-USB port, and finally a port for the power. The power and settings buttons are located on the right edge.

Samsung HomeSync
The HomeSync is a media hub from Samsung that gives your TV a taste of Android. Lynn La/CNET

Features
HomeSync incorporates an Android Jelly Bean interface on your TV. It has a 1TB capacity, and is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core processor.

You can access the same apps that appear in your handset -- some of which include Google Play and Music, your photo gallery, YouTube, and the Web browser. Native Samsung apps are also fair game, like its branded Media and Music hubs.

Through the HomeSync app, you can also turn your handset into a TV remote that can control the media hub. Its touch screen can act as a remote touch pad, and your movements will be indicated by a mouse cursor. You can also switch modes and use the phone itself as the remote, moving it around in front of the TV and selecting buttons similar to a Wii remote.

During my brief time with the device, I used a Samsung Galaxy Note II as a HomeSync remote. It was pretty accurate in general, but there were times when it seemed overly sensitive. Maybe my motor skills aren't just refined enough, but I found it hard to zero in on a menu item, or I accidentally opened up an app.

In addition, you can mirror the phone's display onto the TV, access cloud files, and get eight accounts onto the device for other family members.

Outlook
The HomeSync is seen as Samsung's answer to Apple TV , and there are already several other media hubs available like Roku and WD TV Play. Of course, to fully gauge its potential, we'd need to know its cost (still TBD), and the full details of its onboard app availability. We'll be looking forward to putting it through its paces when it arrives in April.

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Where to Buy See All

Samsung HomeSync

Part Number: GT-B9150
Low Price: $169.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Type Streaming player
  • Connectivity Protocols Bluetooth
    Wi-Fi
  • Functionality Internet gaming
    Music streaming
    Internet video playback
About The Author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.