I have an option of being "PR"-ish or being realistic. I choose to be straightforward because it better answers the question, and possibly opens dialogue. Few companies do this today, for the very criticisms posted above.
To answer your question, the premium was because back in 2008, nobody had Apps before our 2008 initial offering of "infoLink" which was a text based (okay, light graphics) GUI. Two years later, partnerships, agreements, upgrades, new design innovations and thinner TVs can stream Netflix. In a word, it's progress. It's not always backwards compatible.
On the contrary, all manufacturers offer the best products they can at the time it's sold. After that, new features may be available next year that may not be available or work on the prior years model. That's certainly not unique to Samsung. I don't recall any option to read the news, weather or stock information on any of our competitors (it could be, but I don't think so). So at the time it was sold, it did things other companies can't do. Few companies, if any, have also gone back and retro-fitted older models with the newer capabilities - and for the same reason. It wasn't a consideration when it was designed. I don't make it a point to compare to other competitors, but I think the point fits.
I think you made a great observation. Sometimes people forget that they purchased state of the art at the time of purchase, and still have a great panel to watch. New features like movie streaming, DLNA and other features have matured, and the hardware now used reflects that.
There are lots of choices and options. I appreciate when people purchase Samsung products. That said, it's difficult to apologize for progress when new models offer new features that weren't available on TVs the year prior.
We offer a lot of the popular Internet@TV features on 2010 model Blu-Ray players, too, so if that's something that you want to have, it now doesn't require replacing the TV.
I hope that addresses your concerns a little better.