Samsung says it plans to sell 50 million flat-screen TVs in 2012, and hopes that at least half of them are capable of connecting to the Internet as it steams ahead with its plans to shake up the previously rigid industry. Since the HDTV revolution several years ago there have not been many fundamental changes to the TV interaction experience, and since 3D was kid of a dud it’s now widely believed that online interactivity is the next step.
Samsung launched its first line of what are now considered “smart TVs” in 2009. These sets included a proprietary Samsung operating system that allowed users to download apps and widgets so they could watch Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon videos without the need for an external set-top box or connectivity to a computer. In addition, the Samsung TV app store has become stocked with games, weather information, news tickers, and all manner of content that makes it look more like a smartphone than a boob tube.
In 2012, Samsung smart TVs are even more advanced, with top-of-the-line models offering voice recognition allowing users to control what they’re watching without even needing to pick up a remote. Spurred by rumors of a Siri-powered Apple-branded TV, voice commands are now becoming the next big thing. There are duds in the market, though, as Google TV has shown. Consumers are looking for a connected TV experience that makes living room content more accessible, not more cumbersome. Samsung believes it has captured that formula.