Samsung shows one off its attractive, yet "smart" LED LCD TVs.  (Source: Flickr)

  (Source: Flickr)
Is the public finally warming to internet TV

Public reception to Sony's internet TV efforts, which put a beefy smartphone operating system (Android) in a TV, was decidedly mixed.  Some customers loved the concept, despite rough edges such as interface bugs and the fact that TV networks blocked access to online TV episodes on their sites and Hulu.  Others despised the product for its shortcomings.

I. Samsung: Record App Downloads -- But No Google TV Yet

Samsung meanwhile has been quietly pushing its own brand of internet TV sporting a less feature-rich proprietary OS.  But unlike Google TV in its current form, Samsung TV already offers an app store.

The store launched in January 2010 without much celebration.  It took the store over nine months to reach 1 million app downloads, but only two months after that to reach 2 million downloads worldwide.  Samsung announced [press release] the landmark yesterday.

According to Samsung, its most popular apps are YouTube, Google Maps, and Texas Hold 'Em.

Some may be a bit confused at this point, as there was much fuss a little bit ago about Samsung announcing a new "Smart TV" powered by Android.  Well it seems the Android platform's struggles (or lack of an app store) spooked Samsung, and the vendor -- like other TV manufacturers -- is waiting on deploying an Android product.

In a Wall Street Journal report, Samsung Electronics' Visual Display President B.K. Yoon comments, "We are still reviewing whether we will make the Google TV set or not."

The company does seem to view Google's Android as the next step in the evolution of Smart TV, given that it will soon launch a smart Blu-Ray player, complete with Google TV (Google's TV-aimed Android distribution).

In the meantime the company plans to take baby steps, making minor improvements to its current proprietary platform.  Among the improvements discussed at CES 2011 was to make the hub easier to navigate, incorporating a universal search bar and picture-in-picture -- both features found the current Google TV interface.

Samsung sold only 5 million "smart" (internet-ready) TVs and 2 million 3D TVs in 2010, despite holding a dominant position in the market [source: Display Search].  The company thinks that this year it can sell 12 million smart TVs and 10 million 3D TVs.

Overall Samsung hopes to grow its LCD TV business from 39 million units sold in 2010 to 45 million units sold in 2011.  

II. Quality Issues

To do that, though it must overcome quality control issues.  Reviews of the Samsung UN55C8000, one of the company's premiere LED 3D-ready "smart" TVs on Amazon, had many "five star" ratings, but also multiple failure reports.

One user, Jerry L. Nichols, writes:

This time I set the new 3D set up on December 19th and it had a black screen on December 20th. The repairman showed up on December 22. He replaced two boards to no avail. He has now ordered a new front panel, basically a new television to be assembled in my home. It will be sometime after Christmas before the new front panel shows up. In my opinion a new set should have been provided to compensate for the four hours use that we got, and what seems to be an extreme repair in the works!

Another user, "Tu", reports, "I bought this TV 2 months ago. It stopped working after two months. It didn't turn on the video."

The manufacturer's issues are rumored to be stemming from capacitor failures.  Reportedly Samsung has been cutting corners when it comes to capacitor quality and is now paying the price in terms of failures.  That has led to failures on the television's control and power boards.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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