Samsung is bringing its voice assistant, Bixby, as well as a ‘Universal Guide’ to its 2018 TVs. After two years of delays, Samsung is also once again promising to enable SmartThings for home control via TVs.
Hey Bixby, where’s SmartThings?
Samsung has opted to develop its own voice assistant rather than relying on Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. In 2018, Bixby will be implemented into Samsung’s TVs, starting in the US and Korea.
Bixby can help you control your TV and search for content across multiple services. It will also let you check the weather, play music, show photos, and do other things. All you have to do is press a button on the remote and speak your command.
Additionally, Bixby will let you control connected devices at home via Samsung’s SmartThings system.
If you just had a déjà vu there, you are not alone. Samsung actually promised to bring home automation via the SmartThings system to its TVs two years ago with a free dongle that TVs customers should claim after purchase. The company never released the dongle, and it was later rebranded and sold to Nvidia Shield owners.
So will Samsung deliver this time? Who knows, but a company that fails to update its TVs time and time again and fails to follow through on its promises is probably not the obvious choice for a connected home platform.
SmartThings, Universal Guide
This time, Samsung says, SmartThings will be implemented directly into the TVs – no dongle required. An app on the TV will let you control your home, and Bixby can help, too. You will also get a unified SmartThings app on your smartphone.
Additionally, Samsung announced that its 2018 TVs will feature a ‘Universal Guide’ that combines broadcast and streaming content in one unified interface.
The company says that the setup and login process has been streamlined, enabling users to use an app on their smartphone to set up the TV.
- "Thanks to the SmartThings app, you’ll have access to everything you need to get set up and enjoying your new television quickly. With a few tap of the mobile app, SmartThings enables your TV to recognize your Wi-Fi connection, your set-top boxes, favorite apps and Samsung account information," the company said. "If you’re already logged in to a video application on your mobile device, your TV connects to the same account without having to re-enter your login details on screen. You can quickly choose which of your apps connect in this way to your TV."
Lastly, the company announced tighter Xbox integration as part of a marketing collaboration. Whenever an Xbox is connected, the TV will automatically switch to game mode, bringing down input lag.
Will all of these features come to last year’s TVs? Don’t count on it. No plans were announced and Samsung has in the past refused to release software update for Tizen to bring its Smart TVs up to speed.