Samsung participates in the International Consumer Electronics Show —the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, where the South Korean-based company unveils its latest products and innovations every January over the three-day event.
At last year’s show, Samsung hyped up its Web-connected televisions, and the company did more of the same this year by focusing on the “Smart TV” through a strategy built upon three main categories: “Content,” “Services” and “Connectivity.” Samsung covered all aspects of the Smart TV market from 3D content to voice-command options at its latest CES press conference held Jan. 9, and it seems Google TV —at this point— is certainly lagging in terms of adequate competition.
Samsung ES8000 LED Smart TV
Samsung updated its television lineup with the Samsung ES8000 LED TV. It features a dual core processor, slim bezel and U-shaped stand. The television goes up to 75-inches and displays a more intuitive user-interface with an emphasis on voice interaction, facial recognition, integrated camera controls for multi-video conferencing, and multitasking.
“Let’s say you are watching a movie on Netflix and want to check in on the hockey highlights, just toggle from Netflix to one of my favorite apps, NHL Game center, and come right back to the movie without having to quit the app and launch another app,” said Samsung America President of Consumer Electronics Division Tim Baxter.
The company president said Samsung is “pushing boundaries” with an emphasis on “Smart Content, Smart Interaction and Smart Evolution.” In other words, the new Smart TV can listen, see and act without the use of a remote control.
The Samsung ES8000 LED TV will launch sometime soon.
More details on Samsung’s CES 2012 press conference are provided after the break.
The “Ultimate” 55-inch OLED 3D TV
The Samsung 55-inch super OLED TV won the CES 2012 award for Best Innovation. The model eliminates the color filter and features RGB sub pixel with self-light emission. The end-result delivers a clear image.
The television model also sports an “amazingly thin and ultra slim bezel,” and it features all the ES8000 LED highlights, including a built-in camera with motion sensors, and 3D technologies.
The company said it sold more than 12 million 3D TVs worldwide, and the new OLED 3D TV will surely boost sales after its 2012 launch.
The “Content” portion of Samsung’s 2012 strategy relies on the company’s Media Hub that provides access to premium television and movie content through purchasable or rentable options. The Media Hub is preloaded onto the company’s new line of Smart TVs, but it is now dubbed the “Smart Hub.”
Samsung further announced at CES that its app developer availability grew from 500 to 25,000 in less than two years. The total number of apps downloaded worldwide hits the 20 million mark at the end of this month.
Moreover, Samsung’s content partners are committed to 3D, according to the company, as they have a “special focus on building a library of 3D content to stream to Smart TV.” NBC Universal, for example, is debuting a 3D version of “Battlestar Galactica” on the Smart Hub.
The globally popular Angry Birds mobile game will also launch on Smart TV this year, and includes complimentary animated shorts made available through an On-Demand channel for 2010 to 2012 Smart TV models.
Baxter said the company’s digital content for Smart Hub is expected to rise 60 percent in 2012.
Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics America Joe Stinziano presented the “Services” category of the company’s 2012 strategy. The focus of the category is on “multiscreen services” so content is viewable across a variety of Samsung devices.
The company will offer “Family Story” through the Smart TV as a way for loved ones to upload photographs, video and memos from mobile devices to the television. In addition, a new fitness service delivers workout videos and syncs information to a wireless scale accessory for tracking weight.
A third service for kids is meant to help children with operating the Smart Hub while recommending a wide variety of content for them to easily play. Parental tracking and management is also implemented into the service.
“Connectivity” through the Smart TV is established upon “All Share Play,” which operates between all Samsung devices. It essentially uses the cloud and lets users load content at one place while letting other users from a separate location access it.
An example was given at the press conference where children were playing at home, and their mom caught the moment on camera and uploaded photographs to a PC. All Share Play lets the content be accessed through a Smart TV at their grandparent’s house across the country.
Smart Content, Interaction and Evolution
The premier “Smart Interaction” aspect of Samsung’s Smart TV lineup showcases voice gestures and face recognition. The Smart TV is able to recognize a user’s face and load a personal Smart Hub for that person.
“Face recognition logs each family member into their own smart hub profile, so each person can see their own individual apps with Smart interaction technology,” Stinziano said.
Meanwhile, Smart TV owners can use voice-command to load “Smart Content,” such as On-Demand channels, web browsers, premier applications, or 3D digital media. Hand gestures, similar to an Xbox Kinect-like experience, can also assist with operating the user-interface, such as selecting and swiping with hand motions.
Stinziano said Samsung would open API to developers; thus, more apps using motion control and voice control with face recognition can be developed for the Smart Hub.
As part of the company’s “Smart Evolution” plan for consumer electronics, Samsung also debuted an insertion chip/kit to upgrade television sets in the future.
“A Samsung Smart Evolution slot resides at back of TV,” Stinziano said while explaining how it lets Smart TV owners keep up-to-date with the latest technologies without having to buy a new set every year.
With the debut of a new Smart TV platform and a cutting-edge OLED display at CES, combined with smart technology that focuses on voice and gesture interactions, enhanced content, 3D technologies, multitasking, and cloud sharing, it seems as though Samsung is a giant force that cannot be stopped. Google will need to quickly amp-up its Smart TV offerings to effectively combat Samsung in this market niche.
“Our pace of innovation is not slowing down,” Stinziano concluded.