Samsung took a first step towards connecting the living room to the internet of things Monday with the introduction of its new Smart TV SDK, which offers some basic integration of smart devices into the TV experience.
Owners of 2013 and 2014 Samsung Smart TVs who also own connected appliances made by the company will be able to get status updates from their fridge, washer or air conditioner directly on their TV screen, including information on whether their laundry is done or if someone has opened the fridge. The SDK also makes some basic interaction between the TV and connected devices possible. For example, TV viewers will be able to tweak the air conditioning without ever leaving their couch when they’re watching an especially chilly movie.
Fans of the internet of things have been talking about these kinds of integrations for a long time — the washing machine talking to your TV is probably the most-overused example of the connected home — but so far, we have seen very little in the way of actual implementations, in part because smart TVs actually haven’t been all that smart. Samsung is clearly just taking baby steps with the integration it announced today. The connected home goes beyond just those three appliances, with light being an obvious candidate for future integration. And eventually, one would hope that the platform would also interact with third-party appliances.
The company announced the integration at its developer conference in San Francisco Monday, where it also showed off its new mutliscreen SDK, which will bring Chromecast-like features to its smart TV platform. And to get developers excited about its TVs, it also dropped some pretty big numbers: Samsung sold 53 million TVs last year, and Samsung Electronics America VP Eric Anderson said that his company now sees a 72 percent activation rate for its smart TVs and Blu-ray players in the U.S., something that he claimed was far above industry averages.
Viewers who do access Samsung’s smart TV platform end up using it a lot: 19 percent of the owners of a connected device from Samsung watch online video with it every day. The company’s TV apps get accessed 40 times a week per device on average, said Anderson, and some of the apps on the platform also see remarkable use:
Hulu Plus gets used about one hour a day on average, Univision’s Uvideo service 45 minutes a day. However, Pandora dwarfs them all, clocking a whopping 2.7 hours a day. Samsung didn’t give out daily per-person usage numbers for Netflix, but said that the video service tracks a total of two million hours of streaming across Samsung devices per day on weekends.
By Janko Roettgers