Hands-On: Angry Birds and Samsung's Latest Smart TV Apps
We brought you news about Samsung's updated Smart TV applications shortly after their announcement last week. Earlier today, we swung by Samsung's flagship store to get a feel of their latest and upcoming offerings, including Rovio's popular Angry Birds offering that's co-developed by Samsung for their Smart TV sets. The app finally makes its way to the TV domain after entertaining mobile users for the past three years. Besides catapulting birds at insolent pigs with our bare hands, we also browsed through Singtel's new mio TV PLAY VOD (video-on-demand) service, as well as forthcoming edutainment apps slated to be launched in September. Do read on if you'd like to know more about these free Smart TV applications as well as our personal observations!
Angry Birds by Rovio
Some of you might scoff at the idea of playing Angry Birds yet again, given that the app has been around for years after all. However, this is the first time Rovio's fowl-slinging game has arrived on the big screen, and they're no longer restricted to the mobile platform. It's also interesting to note that this particular version actually makes use of gesture-controls available on Samsung's premium Smart TV models instead of utilizing the traditional remote. As such, Angry Birds is only exclusive to the Series 7 and 8 Smart LED TVs (such as the ES8000 model we reviewed), as well as Series 8+ from Samsung's plasma range.
To play the game, simply place your hand in front of the TV's built-in camera, and you're ready to rock and roll after the hand is detected by the camera. To pull a particular bird back, for instance, simply clench your fist and move your arm in the appropriate direction. It takes a couple of attempts to get the hang of it, but it gets progressively easier with practice. Angry Birds is currently available for download via Samsung's Apps TV store.
SingTel mio TV PLAY
Singtel's latest VOD app is actually a culmination of their previous (but still available) Singtel Video Store and Singtel Video Search offerings. The mio TV PLAY service is essentially an OTT (over-the-top) video streaming application that offers a mix of SD, HD (720p), and 3D Hollywood and Asian movie titles available for rent within a 48-hour duration. Singtel has also upgraded their movie portfolio with mainstream titles such as Safe House, Wanderlust, Contraband, and many others. Rental costs for the different formats are as follows - SD: S$2.99, HD: S$5.99, 3D:S$6.99, and do note that some of these prices are based on a current promotion which ends on August 31st. In addition, 3D titles are rather limited at the moment, seeing that only TinTin, Hugo, and Dr Suess The Lorax are the only ones listed. Singtel's Video Search feature is still available with the mio TV PLAY application, and viewers may use it to scour the web for relevant searches pulled from various video sites, such as YouTube for example.
Samsung is also preparing to launch a handful of edutainment apps in September as a result of their working partnership with MDA (Media Development Authority) and local developers. These homegrown titles are mainly educational offerings catered for pre-schoolers as well as primary and secondary school students. For example, there's the interactive e-book Ferog In The Well, and the slightly more challenging Calculus which offers artistic depictions of relatively mundane mathematical topics. All in all, we were impressed by the quality of the graphics and overall presentation after trying them out for a few minutes or so. These apps are not only visually pleasing, but also engaging enough to capture the attention and imagination of the younger ones. Other titles slated for a September launch include E-Assessment, Yummy Science, and My First World.
For a complete list of Samsung's latest and upcoming Smart TV titles, please refer to the table below:
|Type||Developer||App||Description||2011 Smart TVs||2012 Smart TVs||Country|
|Game||Rovio/Samsung||Angry Birds||Angry Birds app on Smart TV works with just the wave of a hand in front of theTV screen, powered by Samsung’s Smart Interaction technology. All actions, including level of difficulty selection and screen zoom in/out, are performed using motion control.||No||Yes||Worldwide|
|Video||SingTel||mio TV PLAY Store||Premium Video-on-Demand on movie blockbusters, music videos, news clips and internet videos.||Yes||Yes||Singapore|
|Video||ViKi||ViKi Premiere||The latest Korean and Asian dramas, and Hollywood news subtitled and translated in up to 150 languages.||Yes||Yes||Regional|
|Video||StarHub||StarHub Video Store|| A video store that offers TVB trailers and local soccer content through
Super Sports Arena channel.
|Yes (TVB Trailers Only)||ETA||Singapore|
|Video||M2B World||WoWTV||An international video site with movies, fashion and lifestyle programs and Hollywood News.||Yes||Yes||Worldwide|
|Information||MayBank||MayBank||Bank promotions, products and services offered by Maybank.||No||ETA Oct 2012||Singapore|
|Education||B-Secure Technologies||E-Assessment||On-line assessments on English and Mathematics subjects for Upper
Primary. Over 6000 questions available.
|No||ETA Sept 2012||Worldwide|
|Education||Zixxe Pte Ltd||Ferog In The Well||An interactive ebook app that teaches children reading and spelling skills using spelling games and storytelling.||No||ETA Sept 2012||Singapore|
|Education||Neu Technologies LLP||Calculus||Presenting calculus concepts in an interactive way, with animated mindmaps illustrating them.||No||ETA Sept 2012||Singapore|
|Education||Oak3Film||Yummy Science||Watch, read, play a game or learn more about Science through food and cooking, in a fun and interactive manner.||No||ETA Sept 2012||Singapore|
|Education||China-Singapore Institute of Digital Media||My First World||Upload pictures and generate flash cards, a convenient and efficient
education tool for children in language learning.
|No||ETA Sept 2012||Singapore|