Samsung May Deploy Google TV After All

samsung free the tv

Samsung may look to build TV sets with the Google TV Internet and video platform built-in, despite concerns about the high cost of components necessary to run the software, according to a Bloomberg report. The decision to use the software could come down to which content providers Google brings on board to develop apps for the Android-based OS.

While Google TV is getting a fair amount of buzz ahead of the introduction of products from Sony and Logitech running the operating system, consumer electronics companies like Panasonic have complained that the cost of components necessary to power the platform are too pricey. Based on the cost of materials alone — including an Intel Atom processor and 4 GB of flash memory — Google TV is estimated to add a $300 premium to the price of TVs and other devices that use the OS.

Added cost isn’t the only reason that Samsung may choose not to deploy Google TV; while Google’s TV OS seeks to corner the market for TV applications, Samsung already has a fairly successful TV app platform of its own. At a press event last month, Samsung said it already had 80 applications available through its connected devices, and expects to have more than 200 on its platform by the end of the year. Samsung said it has more than 6.5 million connected devices in households worldwide, and claims to own 60 percent market share for connected TVs and Blu-ray players.

Samsung is looking to entice app developers in the U.S. with its “Free the TV Challenge”: a contest through which it will give away more than $500,000 in prizes to developers for new and innovative TV apps. The “Free the TV Challenge” follows a developer contest held in South Korea earlier this year, and the CE maker plans to hold a similar contest in Europe in the fourth quarter. Altogether, Samsung expects to spend more than $70 million marketing its Samsung TV app platform worldwide.

While still a nascent market, TV apps are expected to be a huge business soon. According to a report by GigaOM Pro, apps distributed through set-top boxes and connected TVs will generate close to $1.9 billion by 2015, and Samsung wants to be at the forefront of that market.

Despite having its own successful TV apps platform, Samsung’s decision to deploy Google TV in some of its products may come down to which content is available through the Google TV platform. Bloomberg reports:

“We will have to see, but we are reviewing” whether to use Google’s Android operating system, Yoon Boo Keun, head of Samsung’s TV business, told reporters today on the sidelines of a forum in Seoul. A key question is whether South Korean movie, TV and music providers will cooperate with Google, he said.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Got a Cable Subscription? There’ll Be an App for That (subscription required)

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