Company wants TVs to perform like iPhones

Samsung wants your TV to look like an iPhone or iPad screen.

The world’s largest maker of TV sets said Tuesday that it will pony up $70 million to promote its app store that enables consumers to install a slew of entertainment options on their screens.

Much of that money is expected to be spent in the U.S. considering Samsung is the No. 1 TV brand Stateside, with 37% of the market.

The Korean company unveiled plans for the app store at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year and hopes to have more than 200 offerings available by the end of the year for its lineup of TVs that can connect to the Internet.

What that means is that Hollywood will be able to bypass cable and offer movies, TV shows, music, games and other content directly to consumers through their HDTV sets via the Internet.

Companies already on Samsung’s screens include Netflix, Blockbuster, Hulu, YouTube, Napster, ESPN, Roxio, Cinemanow, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter and Vudu.

Apple also is readying to reveal an update of its Apple TV service, expected to be part of the company’s new product unveilings today from San Francisco. Terms vary from company to company depending on the app.

Samsung said roughly 17% of its TVs shipped this year can connect to the Internet; that figure is expected to jump to 70% by 2014.

So far, half of those TV owners have activated apps on their TV sets.

“We are determined to accelerate smart TV adoption in 2010,” said Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, during a daylong session with app developers in San Jose on Tuesday. “People want choice and control. With our apps, we can change how they choose, discover and access content on the TV.”

Samsung wants to promote not only the apps on TVs but also the fact that they can also be manipulated using Samsung’s smartphones, making them rivals to Apple’s iPhones.

While Samsung sells 45 million TVs each year, it moves 227 million mobile phones per year.

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