back to article Samsung TV app competition - no winners here

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 …

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FAIL

No iPlayer or LoveFilm for me :(

I was intrigued by the clients promised in the advertising for my C5900 BD player (not my primary reason for purchase, but a nice extra feature)..

iPlayer - nowhere to be found

LoveFilm - There is a bundled applet .. success! .. launching the applet results in a message saying 'Coming Soon' .. fail :(

No indication when (or if!) these apps are actually coming.

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Same here

But iPlayer, at least, apparently works on Samsung TVs - which we're told is effectively the same platform. Anyone know what's going on?

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Well DUH!

The TV remote offers a clunky and user unfriendly interface. And todays consoles can do the same thing and more with greater ease and flexibility. Want more? Every TV nowadays has a VGA and HDMI port. Both can be used to hook up PC's to a telly.

Why develop something for hardware that's a lot less powerful then those devices?

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except...

.. the massively underpowered wii shows that a tv style remote can do pointer functionality well so there's no reason for the interface to be clunky and unfriendly. The idea is to make mass market tvs that don't need other things plugged in to them to provide computer like functionality. Though many people have consoles there's a hell of a lot more with tellys. That's the market they're trying to sell into.

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except except

while many people have consoles there's a hell of a lot more with tellys...

true but

this is aimed at hig end tellys, so how many people have a high end telly and not a console?

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K.I.S.S.

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.

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Low end too

"this is aimed at hig end tellys"

The Samsung Internet@TV platform is not just for the high end tellys, it is also available on the lower end Blu-ray players. The Samsung BD-C5500 is available now on Amazon and Dixons for £89 which puts it in the price category of being cheaper than a iPod Touch, a decent Android device, a Wii, XBox, PS3 etc. (the BD-C5500 has an ethernet port for internet connectivity to your router, it is possible to add a USB wifi dongle too but that is a separate purchase, more expensive models have wifi built in)

"robots racing rather sedately though mazes."

Heh, heh. It was my company, Abstract Worlds Ltd., which developed the Maze Racing Robots game, and I promise that for the next version work will be done on optimisations to make it faster (if possible) - "first make it work then make it faster". It is actually surprisingly fast when run in a normal desktop browser, FF3, Chrome, but even IE 6 and 7, (it is a Javascript/HTML4/CSS app), which might suggest that there isn't much more optimising possible.

The Samsung EU contest has 3 separate target market contests: UK, Germany, France. The contest is open to the whole EU, and out of the 19 submissions to the UK contest, only 7 were from UK-based developers! So my company is one of the few companies representing the UK in this European challenge, even for the UK contest. It's a bit like Eurovision, but for apps not songs! (The public vote is only one small part of the contest, the main parts of the contest are judged by a judging panel.)

The development platform for Internet@TV apps is either Javascript/HTML4/CSS or Flash Lite.

I must say that for now, the killer app for these devices for me is the Youtube app, which comes as standard with the device. And having this does remove the need for a lot of the other video based apps. But saying that, having the Safari browser on the iPhone removes the need for many iPhone apps too, a favourite saying of mine is "I have an app for that, it is called the browser".

As for non-video apps, like simple games, I do hope there is also a market for the casual game, the fun family or friends together casual game, or simple interactive games for children.

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First, Fix What You Have

I have two Samsung devices, BD-C6900 and 46C8000. Before adding apps, please fix those you already have. The Netflix app has greatly improved in the past 6 months, now one can search the archive rather than the previous limit of one's personal queue which had to be edited with a full computer.

However the Netflix app is buggy as all heck. Fast forward a streaming offering off the end and the TV crashes.

If one does anything other than play a multi-episode offering straight through without stopping one's position is often lost. For some reason they remember one has seen 10 out of 27 minutes of an episode but when one finishes that episode the counter is stuck on that episode, at 10 of 27 minutes, and never advances. One can manually advance to the next but on watching that episode the app comes right back to the the wrong older episode to play next.

Six months ago many streaming offerings were painful to watch with digital artifacts and poor motion. Either that has gotten better or I'm making better choices.

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"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.

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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.

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