Samsung Teams Up With Comcast, Time Warner, Hulu to Bring TV to Multiple Screens
During Samsung’s keynote at CES tonight, it invited a full cast of characters to demonstrate how it was moving TV from the living room to both tablets and phones.
Between interpretive dance numbers and overly scripted interludes by a boy wearing a strange fur hat, Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung’s Visual Display business, announced partnerships with Comcast, Time Warner and Hulu.
Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt shared the stage to demonstrate some of the features that are available with the help of connected TVs, which Samsung is calling “Smart TV.”
Comcast’s offering starts out pretty mild, with a new interface on the TV that is more enjoyable to browse, like a Web site, rather than a TV guide. The tablet version lets subscribers search listings, access DVR recordings and watch video on demand from thousands of content choices. Some of the more far off stuff was being able to change the TV channel from the tablet, and then watching a movie on a tablet, pausing it and then resuming it on a Samsung Smart TV.
The announcement builds on what MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka reported yesterday. Comcast said it will be launching a live TV service for both iPad and Android tablets, but it will restrict watching live TV to subscribers’ homes.
Britt similarly demonstrated how Time Warner subscribers would be able to access their cable subscriptions on Samsung Smart TVs and the Samsung Galaxy Tab in the home.
Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, also made a brief appearance and–without disclosing too many details–said Hulu Plus will be “coming soon” to Android phones.
Tonight’s presentation demonstrated that while Samsung is always focused on the performance and the appearance of TVs, as shown yesterday by the unveiling of TVs with ultra-thin bevels, it is also interested in improving the software experience via partnerships with operators. Yoon said: “TV will become the focal point of content access and sharing.”
Samsung is using the lingo “Smart TV” to explain the multiple-screen and Internet-connected approach. The live subscription features are expected to be available from both cable operators later this year, but it’s unknown how it will be priced or how functional they will be from the beginning.
Before ending the keynote with another song and dance routine (this time with ladybug umbrellas!), Samsung wrapped things up by detailing two pats on the back: A pitch about how green Samsung’s gadgets are these days, and how Dreamworks has been using Samsung’s 3-D TVs to develop on for 18 months.