Today, Samsung brings a global effort to the U.S. to help developers, content providers and application enthusiasts join the Smart TV era, and transform the viewing experience at home.
The world's largest maker of TV sets said Tuesday that it will pony up $70 million to promote its app store that enables consumers to install a slew of entertainment options on their screens.
Samsung is holding its first Free the TV Developer Day in the U.S. for Samsung TVs at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, bringing together notable leaders across the connected TV ecosystem ? content, retail and technology ? and underscoring the deep industry support committed to driving the growth and potential of smart TVs. The roster of speakers include Silicon Valley icon Steve Wozniak, Pandora Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren, ESPN Chief Technology Officer Chuck Pagano, Best Buy Chief Technology Officer and found of Geek Squad Robert Stephens, and CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley. They will be joined by Mr. Boo-keun Yoon, President of Samsung?s Visual Display Business Unit.
Samsung is trying to invest on a new category of TVs ? Smart TV? that not only delivers personalization and customization to the TV viewing experience, but also content discovery and distribution service to the home. Samsung organized the Free the TV Developer Day to help developers better understand its Smart TV platform, called Samsung Apps, and the ever expanding market opportunities for TV applications. This gathering is a core element of Samsung?s Free the TV Challenge apps contest (www.FreeTheTVChallenge.com) which launched on August 11 and will award half a million dollars in prizes.
"2010 is a momentous year for the television industry and for transforming the viewing experience of people worldwide," says Mr. Yoon. "To vitalize the Smart TV market, it is crucial to provide quality local content tailored to consumers of different countries. We are expanding the Samsung Apps Contest from Korea to the US and Europe and will work hard to create an environment where developers, consumers and Samsung win together."
Samsung said that its Samsung Apps, the first HDTV-based application store where users download and purchase content from select 2010 Samsung HDTVs, Blu-ray players and home theater systems, now offers more than 200 applications in close to 120 countries -- tripling the number of apps available since its launch five months ago. Among the recently added apps are ESPN Next Level and Hulu Plus, which join a list of content providers including Pandora, Twitter, Google Maps, Picasa, Skype and others. Activation of Samsung Apps on Samsung TV and Blu-ray products is now over 50 percent.
"Music is a part of everyday life, and so is connectivity. The Samsung Apps platform makes it easy for Samsung TV owners to turn on Pandora and enjoy access to free personalized radio," said Mr. Westergren. "Samsung is not only changing the face of TV, but also helping evolve the direction of the music industry by giving consumers a new gateway to access their favorite songs."
"By making information available at the click of the remote, Samsung apps help us engage our fans in a whole new way," said Mr. Pagano. "With the Samsung ESPN Next Level app, the information a sports fan craves can be accessed in one easy package. It also allows us to serve our fans directly on the screen that represents the core of our business and the best for sports viewing. It?s a win-win for all involved."
The Free the TV Challenge is part of a global rollout of developer-focused contests and events led by Samsung around the globe that open up TVs to developers wanting to distribute their content on the biggest screen in the home and on an easy-to-use platform.
During Free the TV Developer Day, developers will learn more about the SDK and how to enter Samsung?s Free the TV Challenge to create the most innovative applications based on the Samsung Apps platform. Developers entering the challenge are eligible for the winning prize valued at half a million dollars and also have the opportunity to reach audiences in about 120 countries, where the service has been introduced.
Samsung launched a similar challenge in Korea earlier this year, and will launch the third phase of the global challenge later this year in Europe. From the challenge in Korea, a multi-language Fairy Tale Book was built to enable viewers to enjoy fairy tale books in various languages via the TV. A TV karaoke application was also created as part of the contest.
More information on the Free the TV Challenge is available at www.FreeTheTVChallenge.com.
Upon judging completion, consumers will have the opportunity to cast their vote online for the "People?s Choice Award." An overall winner will be announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.