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over 11 years ago

Introducing the Samsung Free the TV Challenge

In the past few years, the smart phone came of age, bringing huge new opportunities for developers.  Meanwhile, there has been a more quiet revolution in TVs: they are getting smarter too.

My team ushered in the smart TV era for Samsung in 2008 with InfoLink, the first RSS-feed TV.  In 2009, we followed up with the first Widget TV, and added on video streaming services like Blockbuster and Amazon VOD.  Finally, in March of this year, we launched the first TVs and Blu-ray players with a built-in app store: Samsung Apps.  Samsung Apps is built into all 2010 Samsung Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater Systems, and the majority of TVs 40 inches and larger.  Now developers can reach TV watchers across the US and access the $150 billion TV market simply by creating an app.

Today, I’m happy to announce that, in recognition of this unique new opportunity for developers, Samsung is offering a half million dollars in cash and prizes for the best new apps for our TVs and Blu-ray players.  Starting now developers across the country can register for the contest at www.FreeTheTVChallenge.com, powered by ChallengePost, and download Samsung’s SDK at www.samsungDforum.com/us.

Our SDK leverages industry standards like Javascript and XML to speed app development, and also supports Flash Lite 3.1, the most advanced version of flash currently available for TVs.  The SDK supports all three device types, TVs, Blu-rays, and Home Theater Systems, so you can write once and deploy across the different devices.  For example Hulu Plus developed their TV and Blu-ray App using our SDK—and we are thrilled with the result.

Apps submitted to the contest will be reviewed by a star panel of VC judges: Roelof Botha from Sequoia, Mike Maples from Floodgate, Bob Borchers from Opus Capital, and Jeremy Levine from Bessemer.  In addition to the prize money, along with every prize is included a top-of-the-line, ultra-thin 46 inch Samsung LED 9000 TV.   And, the winning entries will be shown at Samsung’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas.

Most of all, I’m excited to see all the creative and new concepts that hackers and developers across the US will invent for the challenge.  With the Samsung Free the TV Challenge, you can now make TV your own by creating the experiences that you, and millions like you, want on the biggest screen in the home.