Ahead of the official CES start, Samsung today unveiled its vision for its next generation smart TVs that will include everything from cloud-based game services to video chat while watching TV to NFTs. The company says its 2022 smart TVs will come with a new “Smart Hub” that will provide consumers with the ability to switch between different types of entertainment, including media, games through its new Gaming Hub and “ambient” – the latter referring to televisions. Ability to display artwork, photos or other information on the TV when not in use.
For gamers, the most notable addition to the new TVs will be its game streaming discovery platform, the Samsung Gaming Hub, powered by Tizen. This service will allow game streaming providers to bring their game libraries directly to the TV. Samsung today announced partnerships with Nvidia GeForce NOW, Google’s Stadia and Utomik, and said more partnerships will come later.
From the hub, Samsung TV owners will be able to browse available titles, find and buy games, and instantly play their favorites. Their game controllers will also be able to link with the new Gaming Hub, the company notes. Additionally, users can easily access YouTube where they can follow favorite streamers to watch game content.
Select 2022 4K and 8K TVs and gaming monitors will also support the new HDR10 + GAMING standard, providing an HDR gaming experience with low latency, variable refresh rate, and over 120Hz. This experience includes automated HDR calibration that Removes the need for manual parameter calibration between input sources, like consoles, PCs and more, the company notes. Supported TVs include the Neo QLED line with Q70 TV series and above, as well as Samsung gaming monitors.
Samsung’s new Gaming Hub will launch later in 2022 and will be available through the main navigation menu in the Gaming, Media and Lifestyle categories.
Adding cloud gaming to smart TVs isn’t unique to Samsung. LG announced last year that it is bringing GeForce NOW to its WebOS smart TVs, as well as to Google Stadia. Amazon’s Luna runs on its Fire TVs, and Google Stadia runs on a range of supported smart TVs, including those from LG, Hisense, TCL, Philips, and others. And of course, you can also access these services through streaming devices as an alternative.
Beyond games, Samsung’s new 2022 smart TV line-up will embrace other trends that have grown in popularity over the past year, including co-watching TV and movies with friends and buying and the sale of NFT.
At the start of the pandemic, family and friends looked for different ways to connect and spend time together while being subject to COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions. This has led to an increase in co-watching services and features that allow users to stream entertainment at the same time as their loved ones. Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney +, among others, have launched co-viewing features that allow people to stream a movie or show at the same time in different locations. More recently, Apple launched SharePlay on FaceTime, which also supports Disney + and other streaming apps, like NBA, Paramount +, Showtime, Apple TV +, and TikTok, for example.
Samsung’s take on this trend is to instead offer its own new “Watch Together” app that allows family and friends to video chat while watching a TV show or movie on their TV.
Another weirder addition to the Smart Hub is support for NFTs. The platform will feature an app that will allow users to discover, purchase and trade their NFTs on Samsung’s MICRO LED, Neo QLED and The Frame TV models later this year.
“With the growing demand for NFT, the need for a solution to today’s fragmented viewing and shopping landscape has never been greater,” the company told The Verge, detailing what she calls it the “world’s first on-screen TV NFT explorer and marketplace aggregator. Users will be able to browse, preview, purchase and show off their NFT art on their TV – the latter enhanced by a smart calibration feature that will automatically adjust the settings of the TV. ‘TV display to match the recommendations of the creator of NFT. As users search for NFTs, they will also be able to view NFT history and blockchain metadata.
Samsung was unable to provide more information about the NFT app, when asked, including who would be its partners in this initiative or what TV models would support this feature. It feels like the news was announced before all the details were worked out. (It’s also unclear what consumer demand is for accessing NFTs from a TV screen, for that matter.)
In addition to the services included in the new Smart Hub, the 2022 Smart TVs will work with accessories such as a wall mount and an auto-rotating stand, which allow users to rotate their screen in vertical mode. This mode will support Samsung’s lifestyle features like its Ambient Mode + and Art Mode, as well as third-party apps like TikTok and YouTube.