Samsung’s new Galaxy S smart phone and Galaxy Tab know how to play nice with their bigger siblings. According to news from Samsung, the company now offers apps for both of these devices that will let them control many of the 2010 HDTV models, using a WiFi connection. They can also control many of the 2011 model smart TVs. One attractive feature is that you can use the on-screen keyboard of the portable device to type in information for the HDTV. This should make searching for specific content from Internet streaming sources much more convenient.
This development makes a lot of sense. You’ve already paid a lot for your smart phone or tablet; why pay more for a touch-screen universal remote control? And as the features and capabilities on connected TVs become more complex, a controller device that can change its display to present context-relevant choices will probably be a necessity.
The fact is that the user interface will be the next battleground for HDTV manufacturers. The big question is whether consumers will go for a vertically-integrated approach such as Samsung’s, or will they insist on a standards-based solution that will work with HDTVs and peripherals like Blu-ray players from different brands? Watch for lots of developments in this area over the next two years.