Samsung hosted its first developer conference last week, and there was plenty of talk about Smart TVs. Samsung wants app developers to create games and multiscreen experiences, and have released the tools to do so. Chromecast (DIAL) will also make it to Samsung’s TVs.
Smart TVs with multiscreen & games
Samsung will unveil new 2014 Smart TVs in January, but they are already placing new tools – so-called SDKs – in app developers’ hands. The new tools will enable developers to bridge the smartphone/tablet experience and the Smart TV experience.
The first SDK for developers is called Multiscreen SDK. The idea is to create apps for smartphones and tablets that can communicate with an app in the Smart TV. One example from Samsung’s presentation was a soccer game where results were displayed in the right side, and where you could choose to follow your favorite player through a picture-in-picture video window, controlled from a smartphone. This would obviously require the content creators to embrace the idea, too.
Samsung demonstrates multi-screen. Here you see tweets in the right side controlled from a smartphone
On top of the Multiscreen SDK Samsung has built Multiscreen Gaming SDK. The idea here is to make smartphones and tablets communicate with the Smart TV. There are already thousands of games available for Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy devices, and Samsung believes that it would be more fun to play some of them on the big living room screen. The system works with existing games, but Samsung envisions that developers can create entirely new types of games. Samsung has partnered with Unity (creator of a game engine that many games use today) and is also releasing a game controller that can be connected to a Smart TV via Bluetooth. The solution is not very elegant at the moment as it requires you to connect the phone with a cable to the TV, but Samsung believes that this is only the beginning of a platform that unites smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs.
Samsung unveils a game controller, and will let you play games from your mobile device on the big screen, picture credit: AndroidCentral
Lastly, Samsung says that, in 2014, they will integrate the so-called DIAL system, which is the protocol used to power the Chromecast, into its TVs. Samsung will expand on the basic DIAL functionality by adding additional layers on top. The new system should allow you to open your Netflix app on your smartphone, find a movie, and then click “Play on TV” after which the TV automatically opens the Netflix app and starts streaming the movie.
The new features will work with Samsung’s 2013 and the coming 2014 Smart TVs, but it is not entirely clear if the 2012 models will be supported through the Evolution Kit. All the new features will require a Galaxy smartphone or tablet. Samsung’s 2014 Smart TV will be unveiled in early January at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. FlatpanelsHD is in Las Vegas to give you all the latest news.
If you want to know more check out the video from Samsung’s conference below. Samsung starts talking about TVs at the 31 minutes mark, and starts talking about multiscreen 46 minutes in.