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Friday, January 07, 2011, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

CES: Samsung eyes Smart TV as center of 'digital hub' as it takes on Apple

Following its weakest profits outlook in six quarters, South Korean electronics giant Samsung is banking on copying Apple's strategy from ten years ago, albeit positioning its TVs in place of the Mac as the center of a digital hub.

In a lavish, hour long stage production featuring teenage dancers at CES, Samsung outlined an aggressive new push behind smart TVs, as reported by Engadget.

Company president B. K. Yoon was joined on stage by Zoll, a dancing teen dressed up in a fur hat and goggles, who introduced the concept of a future based on "emotional technology" in a series of skits.

"To satisfy customers, technology must embed the human emotion," Yoon said. "How can we take digital humanism a step further? How do we envision the future of our digital devices? These are the questions I struggle with on a daily basis."

"I am confident that the Samsung smart TV will become the leader in integrating services and content," Yoon said, adding that "Samsung plans to develop a cloud-based platform[…] we are dedicated to making our devices the best gateway to storing, sharing, and playing content from the cloud."

Samsung brought the rival chief executives of Comcast (Brian Roberts) and Time Warner Cable (Glenn Britt) on stage, then referenced a partner who would "provide the essential tools for cross-platform app development."

Roberts announced that "Glenn and I are thrilled to team up with Samsung," saying that the company's Smart TV would be a "revolution." The trio demonstrated an app that enabled users to change the channel using the $600 Galaxy Tab as a remote. Samsung's tablet device will eventually be able to watch cable programming directly.

Jason Kilar of Hulu appeared on stage to demonstrate the company's Hulu Plus app running on Samsung's Android-based Galaxy S smartphone. The app should be available soon.

Samsung then greeted Adobe's chief executive Shantanu Narayen, who presented the company's Flash-based AIR platform as the basis for Samsung's app development across its Smart TVs, smartphones and tablet devices.

"Samsung is the first device manufacturer in the world that's making these developments a reality across all the screens," Narayen said.

Yoon said Samsung's Smart TVs will support Flash as a "must-have for anyone playing web-based content."

Taking an apparent stab at Google and its currently stagnant Google TV initiative with Sony and Logitech, Yoon stated, "The biggest misconception people have about Smart TV is that it's just a TV with a PC inside […] A TV does not become smart just because it can access the internet."

The company also demonstrated its 3D TV technology and detailed its efforts related to green initiatives before ending the production with more dancing.

Samsung CES 2011


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