Samsung's Baxter Unveils 3D VOD Plans

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Samsung will begin a 3D VOD streaming capability on its 3DTVs beginning this month, according to Tim Baxter, president of the Samsung Consumer Business division.

In his keynote at NewBay Media’s Connected TV and 3D event, held at the Roosevelt Hotel, here, on May 24, Baxter said the capability will begin with 3D trailers and will have a “broad service” offering by later in the year. (NewBay is TWICE’s parent company.)

In a separate announcement Samsung said the Explore 3D app on its 3D LED and 3D plasma TVs is accessible with a single click from Samsung’s SmartHub interface, will offer access to dozens of pieces of free 3D content - all in streaming high definition - including trailers from DreamWorks Animation and other studios, music videos, educational content and full-length TV shows from Wealth TV.

Later this year, Explore 3D will also offer access to paid content available in streaming 3D – including feature films and shorts, plus full-length 3D documentaries. The service is available now on all 2010 and 2011 LED Smart 3D TVs and Plasma Smart 3D TVs. Users simply sign up for a new account via any PC.

The Explore 3D application is powered by Rovi Corp. and includes its cloud-based metadata and RoxioNow platform. Rovi currently powers entertainment services for a range of companies, including digital storefronts from Blockbuster and Sears that are also available on Samsung TVs. In addition to supporting Explore 3D, Rovi licenses its interactive program guide, Advertising Services and DivX technologies for use on Samsung devices.

In his remarks Baxter said this is “an important time in our industry [with a] change in terms of consumer behavior and content and a lot of change in technology all coming together not just for TVs but much broader way for the CE industry.”

He said the industry “needs to create a demand in CE, create solutions.”

Baxter noted that with 3D and connected TV there is “heavy lifting associated with that.” He noted, “You have to put [the 3DTV rollout] in context with other technologies, such as DVD, Blu-ray, HDTV and LED. An ecosystem has to be put in place” before a new technology gets wide acceptance.

He explained that in the 35 million unit annual sales market for TVs in the U.S. “20 percent of that is connected TV” today and that half of that is in the profitable 40-inch and above screen size “sweet spot” of profitable and enhanced TVs.

In the past the CE industry provided “discrete devices with one purpose. Now with smart TV, smartphones and other products” that communicate and perform more than just one function, he noted. “We are making them communicate, but it is not seamless. We are working on it,” Baxter noted and maintained, “The cloud environment is the next frontier.”

He quoted CEA statistics saying that the average U.S. household had 32 CE devices and “I counted the number in my house and since I am in the industry we must have double that.”

But Baxter’s point is that consumers “want to seamlessly communicate with each other with these devices and over half of them will be connected by 2015.”

He said that Samsung with AllShare, the name of its DNLA system, as well as its TVs, tablet PCs, smartphones, Blu-ray decks, major appliances and other devices, the challenge is “how do we connect them seamlessly?”

He noted that 70 percent of Samsung’s line now consists of smart TVs and the hub enables consumers to go onto the internet. Baxter said Samsung took an existing remote “added a QWERTY keyboard to it” as an input device so they can “connect with friends who also have smart TVs. You have to communicate with consumers” about these features.

And Baxter related a story how his 17 year-old daughter was able to access a picture taken with his smartphone at a Samsung charity event with actor Matthew McConaughey, view it, check his bio and the movies he is in via their Samsung smart TV, buy the movie, view it and talk about it on Twitter and Facebook with her friends. “Those are some of the aspects of the connected experience, not just searching the web to view your [stock] portfolio.”


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