Netflix Confirmed For Samsung Smart Cable Box

Dave Zatz —  October 17, 2013 — 15 Comments

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As we inch closer to a 10/23 release of the $150 Samsung Smart Cable Box, a rumored 10,000 units are en route to the US and its user guide has appeared online. Via the aforementioned literature, the combo cable+Internet box is confirmed to sport Netflix as a tent pole app. So, while Netflix and the US cable industry continue to gnash their teeth, consumers will have another option, beyond TiVo, to roll their own best of breed video platform. Beyond that compelling nugget of intel, manual visuals appear quite similar to what we observed at the Cable Show — a unidirectional CableCARD powers its pay TV capabilities, augmented by a Samsung-provided guide, joined by a variety of over-the-top apps, plus local media playback. Further, Samsung Android devices, sporting Samsung’s AllCast app, will be capable of TV-based screen mirroring. And no mention of recurring fees for guide date.

Also known as the Samsung Smart Media Player, the hybrid retail set-top is expected to formally launch within the next few weeks… although we still question its market potential, given CableCARD ignorance and absent DVR capabilities. Most folks would probably be better served by an inexpensive cableco DTA and Roku for a similar set of functionality. At least until close-out pricing arrives.

15 responses to Netflix Confirmed For Samsung Smart Cable Box

  1. I still don’t understand why Samsung would produce this product but not do Cablecard TVs. This is the most baffling product ever produced. The Apps are already available on SmartTVs, Blu-ray players, Roku, etc. and the missing link is cablecard, but wouldn’t you at least need a DVR capability to convince folks to choose yet another STB?

  2. Here are the “apps” I need for my TV: Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Prime etc.. i.e. all streaming apps.

    Here’s what I don’t need: Surfing the web, weather, crappy “games”.

    While it’ll be interesting to see TiVo get some competition, Samsung’s usual “throw everything in and the kitchen sink” approach to products doesn’t give me a good feeling about this. I speak as someone who can find no compelling reason to move up from his TiVoHD.

  3. Well maybe round two will offer some sort of DVR. After all Samsung spent a pile of cash shutting down Boxee. I would love to have a one box solution for streaming, Neflix/Amazon Prime/etc and time shifting over the air recordings.

  4. Bill, folks are more likely to pick up an accessory than replace a TV… but, yeah, agreed – would be much nicer to have it all built into a flat panel. Sadly, the first generation of CableCARD TVs came before they industry new how to support it and the second (tru2way) was limited by region and failed to gain any traction. Guess we should all just mount iPads on the walls in each room.

  5. Dave, agreed re preference for appliance vs new tv, but why this box over an xBox, PS3, blu-ray, Apple TV, etc. or even a cable/telco company STB offering? You lose VOD from the provider by not using their STB, and you have no corresponding DVR capability to allow you to time-shift. Perhaps, Michael is right, and there will be DVR capability through a v2 or software update. Is there an eSata port?

  6. No eSATA, but USB. Doubt this will move enough for there to be a v2… But maybe we’ll be surprised, and as Michael suggested, the Boxee team will be working on something.

  7. Coincidence? Or maybe I move markets… Samsung just dropped a press release and I’ve updated the post to reflect a 10/23 release date and $150 pricing (versus the $200 Amazon listing). The lower price point is more compelling, but it’s still a weird device.

  8. I see no mention of monthly fees?

    Also, local file playback, depending on the level of support could be a game changer. I’m still looking for my unified TiVo Roamio + Roku + WDTV Live device.

  9. Huh. I’d forgotten about this and when you said CableCARD I thought “whoah, this could be a game changer!” and then I read the lack of DVR line and went, “oh, nevermind”.

    Its so weird. If they did add DVR capabilities it could be a real challenger to TiVo. Making lots of assumptions of course, and given how little traction TiVo has gotten etc. But hey, its a possibility! But absent DVR????

    Wow this is weird.

  10. They could always add cloud DVR capabilities like the two tuner BoxeeTv had.

  11. Now, all we have to do is figure out the easter egg to enable the latent DVR functionality via the USB drive. I think the easter egg may be power/Netflix/menu/power/menu/power, but I could be wrong.

  12. Thanks to Steve G, we’ve learned the Samsung is already starting to pop up on store shelves. Here it is in the Fremont, CA Walmart:

    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/390988225168175104/photo/1

    Glenn, our blogging efforts would probably be more lucrative is we covered less weird, more mainstream tech. ;)

  13. This might be worthwhile if it could reduce equipment charges on my cable bill. But with Comcast, I think the only savings would be a $2.50 per month discount for “customer owned equipment.” Break even in 5 years?

  14. No DVR makes it a no go for me.

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