On the heels of its announcement today of its new BCM7445 Ultra High-Definition Television (UltraHD TV) video decoder solution, Broadcom (News - Alert) also announced today another TV-related first of sorts.
This time, Broadcom points to the use of its already shipping BCM7356 satellite STB system-on-a-chip within Samsung's (News - Alert) new SMT-E5015 Smart TV set top box, along with the first successful integration of Android 4.0 and Google Mobile Services (GMS, e.g. Gmail, Google Maps, etc.) within the SMT-E5015.
The SMT-E5015 is used with Korea Telecom's (KT (News - Alert)) subscriber base, and while it represents the first real marriage of mobile services within a TV set top box, you’ll need to travel to South Korea to put it to use. It is available on KT's Olleh TV Skylife service, and allows KT to offer its subscribers new Android (News - Alert)-based applications that include Play Store, Play Video, Play Music and Search.
JG Choe, KT's deputy general manager points out that, "With the addition of Google Services, we are able to truly demonstrate our commitment in leading the industry to deploy entirely new connected TV applications and content to our subscribers. Being able to support Android 4.0 on Samsung Electronics' Smart TV set-top box enables us to bring an exciting range of previously mobile-only services to the TV."
Creating the SMT-E5015 required close cooperation between – and support from – both Broadcom and Google. This cooperation was critical to successful development and to a successful product launch. The Samsung SMT-E5015 needed to meet stringent compatibility and GMS (News - Alert) Test Suites to properly support Google Mobile Services.
By basing the Samsung Smart TV set-top box on Android, Samsung is now able to provide operators such as KT with the ability to deliver rich, interactive digital TV experiences to their customers.
Dan Marotta, executive vice president and general manager for Broadcom's Broadband Communications Group, added, "This is a significant accomplishment in the development and deployment of new TV entertainment programming and services. With a high level of focus and commitment by the Android teams at Samsung Electronics and Google, we were able to achieve the industry's first integration of GMS services on an Android set-top box. We are committed to further development of features and capabilities in our set-top box platforms to power the next generation of connected home devices."
It’s interesting to note Samsung's reliance on both Google and Android here, at a time when Samsung is struggling to find ways to untie its Android bonds and to rely far less on either for its product plans. We do anticipate Samsung at some point making the effort to put its "other" mobile operating system, Tizen, to work on the TV front.
The value of GMS underscores the value of Android, and in turn highlights just how difficult it may prove for Samsung to step away from Android.
In any case, KT can certainly rest easy with the end results here, which will provide tangible benefits for its subscribers.
Edited by Braden Becker