Elaborate CES keynote announces partnerships
In an elaborate hourlong keynote, Samsung served up a murderer’s row of showbiz and tech CEOs to announce new or expanded partnerships for 2011.Taking the stage with Samsung’s Boo-Kuen Yoon, president of visual display, were the CEOs of Samsung’s partner companies: Comcast’s Brian Roberts, Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt, Hulu’s Jason Kilar, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen and DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg. Each announced a significant initiative with the electronics giant. Roberts and Britt appeared together to announce streaming VOD services on Smart TV. Roberts announced Comcast’s Xfinity TV service and Xfinity app for the Android-driven Samsung Galaxy Tab, which turns the tablet into a TV remote and channel guide and lets it play streaming web content. Not to be outdone, Britt announced that Samsung Smart TV owners with Time Warner Cable service would be able to get the full navigation without a set-top box and would be able to watch live TV on the Galaxy Tab. “Ultimately, customers will have access to the entire channel lineup on the Tab,” he said. To power these cross-device services, Yoon said Samsung will launch a cloud-based platform to allow devices to communicate with each other. Turning to 3D, Yoon said that while Samsung was the first company to sell 3D sets, “The question for 3D TV has shifted from “Who will be first?” to “Who will be best?” Then he introduced Katzenberg. In his presentation, the DreamWorks toon topper said the existing bundling relationship between DWA and Samsung, where consumers who buy Samsung hardware get DWA 3D Blu-ray disks, will continue. Two 3D Blu-ray titles, including “Megamind,” will be available exclusively. The companies are also partnering on a 3D streaming VOD service that will make DWA content, including trailers and promotions available via the 3D app on Smart TV in both 2D and 3D. Beyond that, DWA will work with Samsung on marketing, giving Samsung access to DWA characters. Companies are also collaborating on R&D for future 3D tech and content. Katzenberg and Yoon also showed off a pair of lightweight active-shutter 3D glasses with prescription lenses, and a wireless charging station for them. Hulu’s Kilar focused mostly on predictions for how advancing TV technology will make today’s onscreen program guides seem as quaint as rotary dial phones. He announced that the subscription Hulu Plus service, which features deep archive of TV series episodes, is coming to Samsung’s Android mobile phones. Narayen announced the new line of Smart TVs will incorporate support for Adobe AIR and Flash, which will speed the development of new apps for the Smart TV platform. Samsung is the first manufacturer to include support for these AIR and Flash. Separately, Samsung also announced a partnership with DirecTV to deliver the first production TV with support for RVU, which lets subscribers watch content from their DVR on a Samsung TV without the need for an additional set-top box. Samsung will embed RVU support in its Smart TV line.