January 07, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
So who needs a cable box anymore when there are app-laden, internet-connected smart TVs everywhere? That’s a question a lot of people have been asking, and one that got a lot more interesting at the CES keynote presentation by Samsung’s Boo-Keun Yoon.
Yoon, along with Comcast president Brian Roberts, announced a new partnership between the two companies that puts access to Comcast’s Xfinity service on Samsung’s smart TVs. Through a new “web-like” interface, users can search though TV programing and video-on-demand offerings as well as program their DRVs for recording, all though a smart TV interface without going to the menu on a set-top-box. A similar level of access will be available on Samsung’s Galaxy tablet PCs and will allow users to view streaming content on the portable device.
But Comcast isn’t the only new TV partner. Time Warner Cable’s CEO Glenn Britt also joined Yoon in announcing that Time Warner Cable customers will be able to access their subscription content on Samsung smart TVs and the tablet PCs. TWC already announced a similar feature for Sony smart TVs earlier this week.
One of the features of the new TWC app (available on Samsung’s app marketplace on their TVs) will allow users to access DVR content from any smart TV in the house without the need for additional set-top-boxes. This function can greatly extend the user’s TV subscription without the additional box rental fee.
Finally, Samsung announced plans to support Adobe AIR 2.5 for TV, making it easy for developers to create applications for the platform. All of Samsung’s 2011 Smart TVs and Smart Blu-ray players will include support for Adobe AIR for TV. Samsung also announced plans to bring Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to its Smart TV browser, extending the company’s current support for Flash Player 10.1 on Samsung smartphones and tablets. The lack of Flash on apple products has been an irritant for many people, so this news will likely be well received by developers and consumers.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.