CES 2010: Samsung Intros 3D, Pushes TV "Apps"

Samsung, which jumped into the "connected TV" market last year with widgets from Yahoo and streaming video from YouTube, announced at CES 2010 that it wants to drive more Internet-based applications for its broadband-connected TVs with "Samsung Apps," which president Tim Baxter described as the "world's first multi-device apps store."

The premise behind Samsung Apps, said Baxter, is to create Internet-based applications that work seamlessly on a phone, TV or Blu-ray player. Samsung will release its first batch of free TV apps in the spring, with premium apps coming in the summer. Early Samsung Apps partners include Blockbuster, Vudu, Travel Channel and Netflix.

Samsung will take an open approach to the Apps store and release a software developer kit (SDK) to let third-party software programmers create new applications for connected TVs, much as they are currently doing for mobile devices like the Apple iPhone and Verizon Droid.

"If you think it was fund creating apps for a 3" mobile display, I've got a 55" LED I'd love to show you," said Baxter.

As expected, Samsung used CES to introduce a line-up of 3D-capable LCD sets, as well as a 3D Blu-ray player. Baxter said the company's 3D processors also have the ability to convert 2D content into 3D in real-time, at "the push of a button."

"We think this will tide consumers over until their favorite content is widely available in 3D," said Baxter.

On that note, Samsung announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with movie studio DreamWorks Animation and technology services provider Technicolor to bring 3D content to the home, namely in the form of a 3D Blu-ray version of DreamWorks' 2009 release "Monsters vs. Aliens" that will be created and produced by Technicolor and bundled with new Samsung 3D sets. Samsung will provide customers with several other 3D selections, including a short entitled "Bob's Big Break" as well as trailers for 2010 DreamWorks releases "How to Train your Dragon" and "Shrek Forever After" on Samsung HDTVs with its Internet@TV connected-TV feature.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, a longtime vocal proponent of 3D, and Technicolor CEO Frederic Rose joined Baxter on the stage to announce the partnership and show off a new Samsung 3D set.

Katzenberg said that set-makers' adoption of 3D reminded him of DreamWorks' decision back in 2007 to produce all of its movies in 3D.

"We stand at a watershed moment for the entire movie industry," said Katzenberg.

Rose said that Technicolor is proud to follow its history of being a pioneer in the color films by taking the lead in today's 3D movement. He predicted that when consumers watch the "Monsters vs. Aliens" Blu-ray version on a new Samsung 3D set, it will be "just as lifelike and as eye-popping as the cinema version they saw last year."