The European round of Samsung's Smart TV competition is open to voting, with half a million Euros up for grabs as developers push television way beyond distance viewing.
The competition closed to entries last week, but is now open to a public vote on who should get the prizes. Those prizes are split to three regions, UK Germany and France, but despite first prize in each country being €75,000 the competition has attracted few developers, and not many more voters..
The platform is Samsung's Internet@TV, supported by the company's mid-to-high TVs and Blu-ray players, and is basically an AJAX (Web 2.0) platform with suitable extensions for TV functionality. That limits the functionality slightly, but makes development easy and porting of existing AJAX stuff trivial.
At the time of writing the winning application is a client for Dufus, the online game with 10 million, mostly French players. Internet@TV isn't powerful enough to run the game itself, which is usually Flash based, but players can manage their characters, feed their pets and catch up on what's going on in the World of the Twelve - which is good enough to garner a suspiciously high 255 votes.
We say "suspiciously high" as the next highest, an application for stalking friends and relatives ones from the comfort of your own sofa, only has 85 votes right now, currently topping the UK submissions. It's almost enough to make one think there's not a lot of interest in developing content for TVs.
The problem is that televisions are devices designed for watching video, generally in company. Samsung kit already packs clients for YouTube, LoveFilm, Blip.tv and so forth, so that functionality is pretty well covered though the client for Bong.TV, the cloud-based video recording service, looks pretty:
Quite what else people want on their TV screens is open to debate - emoticons dancing on top of the video stream, or robots racing rather sedately though mazes. The industry, from Google to Apple to Samsung, is convinced we want app stores for our TVs, but Samsung's competition isn't yet showing why we would want to. ®