TV makers add apps to make connected TVs smarter

It's not enough for a TV to be connected to the Internet, apparently; it also has to be connected to an App Store to guide viewers to content and services.

That explains, in part, a flurry of announcements from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and smart TV manufacturers that range from Samsung's (OTC: SSNLF) decision to add Google services--including the Google Chrome browser and Android application store--to its connected TVs to Google's launch of a VoD-style movie rental play through YouTube on connected devices by the end of this year, starting with Philips' connected TVs and devices.

And then, there's video discovery start-up Redux, which already is working with Google TV and Samsung but is getting "deep integration" with LG (NYSE: LGL) Smart TVs and Blu-ray players.

The Samsung and Google App Store relationship came about because Samsung wasn't excited about Google TV, forcing the TV set maker to develop its own platform.

"Google TV has been out there for two years but still we did not find the right experience with them yet," said Hyun-suk Kim, head of Samsung's TV Business in a Bloomberg story. Not finding the right experience, though, doesn't mean that the company can avoid Google "because they could be dominant," he said. And this led to the inclusion of the App Store.

YouTube's VoD rentals, already happening in the U.S., will be launched "in select European countries" later this year, according to GigaOm, which used a comment from YouTube hardware partner TPVision to pinpoint Philips as "among the first TV platforms" to offer the rentals.

As for Redux, the company "has been making a big bet on connected TV over the past year or so, creating apps and user interfaces that are designed to make streaming video as seamless as watching regular broadcast or cable TV," a story in TechCrunch said.

Redux's deal with LG will make it the default channel guide and TV homepage on LG connected devices. Redux hopes to be in a prime position on more than 40 million devices across its partner base by the end of this year. It's also struck deals with publishers like Hearst and Popsugar to get premium content from brands like Popular Mechanics, Road & Track, Car and Driver and Popsugar's entire library on connected TVs.

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