Samsung TV app competition - no winners here
Half a million Euros fails to raise interest
The European round of Samsung's Smart TV competition is open to voting, with half a million Euros up for grabs as developers push television way beyond distance viewing.
The competition closed to entries last week, but is now open to a public vote on who should get the prizes. Those prizes are split to three regions, UK Germany and France, but despite first prize in each country being €75,000 the competition has attracted few developers, and not many more voters..
The platform is Samsung's Internet@TV, supported by the company's mid-to-high TVs and Blu-ray players, and is basically an AJAX (Web 2.0) platform with suitable extensions for TV functionality. That limits the functionality slightly, but makes development easy and porting of existing AJAX stuff trivial.
At the time of writing the winning application is a client for Dufus, the online game with 10 million, mostly French players. Internet@TV isn't powerful enough to run the game itself, which is usually Flash based, but players can manage their characters, feed their pets and catch up on what's going on in the World of the Twelve - which is good enough to garner a suspiciously high 255 votes.
We say "suspiciously high" as the next highest, an application for stalking friends and relatives ones from the comfort of your own sofa, only has 85 votes right now, currently topping the UK submissions. It's almost enough to make one think there's not a lot of interest in developing content for TVs.
The problem is that televisions are devices designed for watching video, generally in company. Samsung kit already packs clients for YouTube, LoveFilm, Blip.tv and so forth, so that functionality is pretty well covered though the client for Bong.TV, the cloud-based video recording service, looks pretty:
Quite what else people want on their TV screens is open to debate - emoticons dancing on top of the video stream, or robots racing rather sedately though mazes. The industry, from Google to Apple to Samsung, is convinced we want app stores for our TVs, but Samsung's competition isn't yet showing why we would want to. ®
I'm afraid I may be a dying breed, but I prefer my telly to just be decent quality, have a good picture and plenty of ports, so that I can choose myself what features I want it to do. I don't need built in Freeview (already have cable and a Humax Freeview recorder), and my games console can do the media centre business.
Not just for TVs
"I want my TV to remain a dumb display terminal"
It is possible to keep it simple with your TV but still make use of Samsung's Internet@TV technology. Just get a Samsung Blu-ray player with Internet@TV built in. It is a bit of a misnomer, but the Smart TV platform definitely isn't confined to TVs, it is also available in blu-ray players, and it is possiby the cheaper blu-ray players that will make this technology more mainstream.
Going the Blu-ray route is the most cost-effective way of accessing this technology, and it also makes sense to have the internet connectivity in your blu-ray for other things like BD-Live, part of the Blu-ray profile 2.0 which requires an internet connection.
The other benefit of having an internet connected device is that it makes firmware upgrades easier to do, if you choose to accept a firmware upgrade (e.g. if you are experiencing particular problems that only a firmware upgrade will resolve).
So, if you want to get YouTube on your TV, and perhaps other apps too (viewers for your online photo albums, viewers for your favourite social networking site, etc), it is possible to do this with an £89 Samsung Internet@TV Blu-ray player.
"Fast forward a streaming offering off the end and the TV crashes."
That is exactly why I want my TV to remain a dumb display terminal.
Why, oh why is there so much pressure to include programming into every single kitchen/room appliance we have ?
The TV we currently have works fine. Shows whatever the input is transmitting, never ever should crash for any reason except hardware.
The DVD player can crash (even though I don't like the amount of code they put in there), doesn't harm the TV. The Media Player can (and will) crash, doesn't affect the TV. The bloody BluRay player will crash, but the TV stays rock solid.
Can anyone say Single Point Of Failure ? If your TV is blue screening, you can have as many consoles, DVD players and other peripherals you want, they are useless because the frakkin' TV cannot resolve its code !
That IS NOT a situation I want to experience.