Netflix will be one of the “tent pole” apps on the home screen of a new hybrid IP/QAM retail video device from Samsung that will sport a CableCARD slot and support digital cable services, the ZatzNotFunny blog reported this week, citing a user guide that has emerged online prior to the product’s official retail release.
Samsung announced on Thursday that the Smart Media Player, which also goes by the marketing-unfriendly designation of the GX-SM530CF, will officially launch on Wednesday, Oct. 23 and sell for $149.99 -- $50 less than the price Amazon.com has been citing as it accepts pre-orders of the new Samsung product.
The product will hit as the CE giant gears up for the holiday buying frenzy and compete with other streaming video devices, as well as TiVo and its new “Roamio” lineup.
Using a Samsung-crafted interface and a CableCARD, the Smart Media Player will be capable of delivering linear cable TV services. The box also builds in Samsung’s S-Recommendation engine to help users discover content based on what they are watching.
But, as a one-way, downstream-only device, it won’t inherently support cable video-on-demand services. It will bridge that gap by offering VOD via apps such as Netflix, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video. Samsung said the box will support more than 100 apps, including YouTube.
But that lack of support for cable’s upstream path will present complications for customers that use the device on cable systems that utilize switched digital video. Like retail TiVo boxes, the Samsung device will require a separate MSO-supplied Tuning Adapter to obtain digital channels that are switched, rather than broadcasted, on the cable network.
The device will also lack internal storage for a DVR. That has led to some speculation that Samsung might hitch the product to a cloud-based DVR product and perhaps resurrect a cloud DVR service originally developed by Boxee, the OTT device and app startup that Samsung acquired earlier this year. The user guide for the new product makes no mention of a cloud DVR. Samsung has not yet commented on its DVR plans.
Samsung’s new player will be able to play content stored on USB devices and PCs using Samsung Link, software that allows the box to retrieve media from computers and DLNA-enabled devices.
ZatzNotFunny also points that that Samsung Android devices with Samsung’s AllCast app “will be capable of TV-based screen mirroring.”