Samsung has beefed up its connected TV platform considerably as it faces threats from Google, Roku and its fellow television vendors.
The new platform has a redesigned landing page, called the Smart Hub, with access to several new features, along with more than 300 apps. Here's an overview of what Samsung is adding to its so-called smart TV platform:
Search: Users can run a universal search that covers broadcast TV, web content and social networks. In the demonstration I saw, a search for "NHL" returned current and upcoming televised games, and the NHL's official Facebook page. There's also an option to search the Web.
Web browser: Samsung's connected TVs now include a full Web browser, including bookmarks, favorites, saved passwords and Adobe Flash. I didn't get to see how video sites run through the browser, but I have a feeling Hulu will be blocked anyway.
Your video: This section of the Hub recommends what to watch based on your browsing history.
Picture-in-Picture: While inside the Smart Hub, the current video source will continue to play in a smaller window. PIP is also available while using the Web browser.
Second channel for wireless app: Samsung's mobile app for controlling the television isn't new, but an update will allow users to watch a different channel from whatever's playing on the television, provided they're on the same Wi-Fi network.
User profiles: Because the platform allows users to download apps and get content recommendations, it's now possible to set profiles for each user.
The new Smart Hub will appear in select models from Samsung's 2011 TV lineup.
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