Samsung: Apple TV Won't Solve Problem of Communal Viewing

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"I finally cracked it," Steve Jobs was quoted in his biography as saying about the Apple TV. But what was the solution he hit upon? A Samsung executive thinks it has less to do with user interface than business models.

"Steve Jobs obviously was working on the TV model for quite some time. I'll tell you this: it wasn't he cracked it as it relates to technology. It's not a technology problem or challenge for them, it's a business model challenge," said Eric Anderson, vice president of content and product solutions for Samsung Electronics America, speaking at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles.

Television is different from the mobile market, noted Anderson, due to the entrenched business models between content providers and advertisers. Anyone looking to break into the area needs to find away to work with those established interests.

"Probably what he was referring to -- and we'll probably find out soon enough -- is going to be how they were able to appease and to work in harmony with some of these TV networks, as well as the cable guys," said Anderson. "As far as the user experience on the TVs and things of that nature, this'll probably be one area that there's a lot of... people got there before Apple with really good engineering and they'll probably be in a pretty even playing field."

While Anderson believes that Jobs solved business problems with the upcoming Apple TV, he doesn't think the device will be able to meet the differing tastes and technology demands of a household of people. Unlike a phone or music player, a television is communal.

"Probably what he didn't crack is that, no matter what you do, that TV is a communal device. That is not a personal device, it's a communal device," asserted Anderson. "The affinity of that user experience is going to have to play out on a device in a communal environment, which has never been done before."

Asked if he thought TV viewing was broken, Anderson said that appointment viewing and the discovery process are frustrating for viewers, which is why Samsung is moving ahead in discovery and access.

"We're not trying to be an aggregator; we're not trying to be a distributor. We do try to help you find the content from content services and sources that you're already familiar with, and hopefully we have them for you," Anderson said, adding that 48 percent of all Samsung smart TV usage comes from video streaming.

For more from the panel, watch the video below:

How Streaming Video Is Changing the Television Landscape

Streaming sites like Hulu, CBS, ABC, and others have proven that savvy audiences are turning to their computers for entertainment, and in a way that's profitable. How are traditional and cutting-edge companies capitalizing on this trend? In addition to providing the content, how are they taking advantage of this "connected" platform as they deliver content? And finally, how might online video based subscription offerings affect cable companies to this new content source?  

Moderator: Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, CEO, WatchMojo.com

Speaker: Michael Schwalb, Director, Tremor Video, Mschwalb@tremorvideo.com

Speaker: Mark Suster, VC, GRP Partners, mark@grppartners.com

Speaker: Eric Anderson, VP, Content and Product Solutions, Samsung Electronics America

Speaker: AJ McGowan, CTO, Unicorn Media

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