Apple last month released a new TV app in an attempt to centralize all the streaming TV options available across Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. Now, Samsung is rolling out its own take on the matter, with the launch of a trio of new Smart TV services focused on sports, music and video on demand. The services are a part of Samsung’s Smart Hub platform, which offers customers a way to navigate live TV, video on demand, and apps.
As a part of this launch, Samsung will also update its Smart View app for iOS and Android, which offers a remote control, recommendations on what to watch, and other personalized notifications that work with the newly added services.
Unlike Apple, Samsung, is able to bypass the need for a streaming media device because it built smart TV services directly into a number of its television sets.
The company has now upgraded its Smart TV platform with the launch of three services: Sports, Music and TV Plus. In some cases, these services even one-up Apple on functionality that its more limited TV app doesn’t have.
For example, Samsung customers can customize the new Sports service to receive alerts about when their favorite teams are playing, then click a button to tune-in. These alerts are pushed to both the TV and the smartphone via the updated Smart View application. The latter makes it possible to receive alerts even if your TV is switched off.
Apple, meanwhile, also has a live tune in feature on Apple TV- you can tell Siri that you want to watch the game or ask her what games are on, and then the app streaming the game is launched for you. But Siri doesn’t know which teams you care about the most, or remind you to watch.
Samsung says it’s working with partners on its Sports service, including NBC Sports, UFC and others.
Samsung’s new “Music” service brings content from eight app partners to the smart TVs, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Napster, Deezer, Sirius XM, Vevo, Melon and Bugs. Largely, this launch is focused on offering a more competitive app lineup to make Samsung TVs a more compelling alternative to standalone streaming media players, like Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and others.
However, the Music service has a few tricks of its own, too. Powered by Shazam, Samsung’s Smart TV users will be able to identify the songs you hear on live TV or from the programs you’re watching. The service will also include suggestions of new music you may like in the “Preview” section of the Smart Hub’s user interface.
The third new service, TV Plus, was originally launched in Southeast Asia, but is now becoming available in the U.S. on select smart TVs, and will roll out to European users in April of this year. This feature of the Smart Hub platform is also somewhat competitive with Apple’s TV app as it aggregates TV and movie content from across services into a single interface. This includes on-demand TV shows as well as movies available for rent or purchase, like those from FandangoNow.
Combined with Smart Hub’s ability to recommend shows you might like based on your prior viewing patterns, the updated platform across TV and mobile devices is not exactly a direct answer to Apple’s TV app, but it does attack the same overall goal: making the TV experience more personalized to users.
Personalization is the new battleground for today’s streaming platforms, all of which have increased their efforts in this space in recent months. Roku’s “My Feed” lets you follow TV shows and movies you want to track, while Fire TV suggests content similar to what you’ve been watching, thanks to Amazon’s recommendation engine. Apple TV uses its TV app to offer suggestions and point you to other popular content.
The new services are launching in France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S., but exact details are still forthcoming in terms of dates and supported sets.