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3D TVs: “Apps the Real Game Changer,” Editor Says

samsung-HandyShell-appsWe all read pop-up books as kids—scenes and characters rising to life from the text, giving the story richness and depth. Big-time television manufacturers are banking on that whimsical notion from childhood to sell their new 3D-enabled TVs as well. Unfortunately, most industry experts are saying that grade-school memories won’t do Samsung or Sony any favors in the 3D market, and what top-name television companies should be focusing on instead are “apps,” or software applications.

Digital Trends’ very own editor Scott Steinberg considers apps to be “the real game changer” when it comes to tomorrow’s television sets and 3D-enabled technologies. Imagine chatting with other viewers while watching your favorite TV shows or asking questions of the celebrity guests on your favorite late night talk show, he says—these could all be very plausible scenarios with the appropriate app on your 3D TV.

3D televisions are lacking that little extra something to push them over the edge of innovative and into the depths of revolutionary. Steinberg believes that apps could be just the trick needed to transform 3D-enabled TVs into “an interactive medium that can be utilized in individual ways by every member of the family.” Or, more briefly—fun for the entire clan.

Just as apps have thrived on other high-tech mediums like smartphone devices, he suggests that similar results could potentially be achieved with Internet connected TVs and Blu-ray players. There would be endless possibilities for new and creative applications, especially if the market was opened up to independent content creators. You could videoconference with people around the world, have an interactive game night with family members across the country, and even research your news and weather right on your TV, then share that info with your friend through the very same medium.

“Even though we’re seeing apps on a huge array of devices, the TV may well be the one that stands to benefit most from their addition,” claims Steinberg. “This may be just the advancement manufacturers need to entice viewers to come back and spend time in front of their TV.”

So far Samsung is the only company jumping on the app bandwagon, understanding the need for compelling content and more connectivity, announcing last week at CES 2010 that it wants to drive more Internet-based applications for its broadband-connected TVs with “Samsung Apps.” Samsung says it will take an open approach to its App store and release a software developer kit (SDK) to let third-party software programmers create new applications for connected TVs.

Samsung will release its first batch of free TV apps in the spring, with premium apps coming in the summer. Steinberg says these features “could potentially restore the living room to its onetime place as the heart of the home.”