23
Feb
HOMESYNC_1

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy Note 8.0, but they won't be satisfied until there's no stone unturned for Mobile World Congress. In a disappointingly dry press release the company debuted the Samsung HomeSync, an Android-powered set top box that combines Google TV features and a home media server. Major bullet points include a full terabyte of storage, WiFi and Ethernet access, and an interface powered by Jelly Bean (presumably 4.1) with full access to the Google Play Store.

HOMESYNC_1

Based on the language in Sammy's press release, that's the full Play Store, not the comparatively measly selection of apps available to Google TV units. The possibilities for that are intriguing, maybe even more so than devices like the OUYA. Hardware power comes from a 1.7Ghz dual-core processor of unknown origin, 1GB of memory, an additional 8GB of flash storage, and support for all the standard video and audio codecs. Connections come in WiFi, Bluetooth, and MicroUSB flavors, with the only video option being 1080p HDMI with support for HDCP. USB 3.0 and optical-out audio round out the package.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn't provide a look at the TV interface for HomeSync, though I'd bet it looks pretty similar to their current range of Smart TVs. The device will start a global rollout in April 2013, with an undisclosed price.

Barcelona, February 24, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd., a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced Samsung HomeSync, a home hub solution that a shared storage fit for a family, the best entertainment experience on a big screen TV, and a new way of enjoying your HDTV through a familiar and smarter Android user experience.

Shared Storage for a Family

HomeSync’s 1TB drive can help you sync to multiple devices, providing shared or private storage for all your content. It supports eight separate accounts to cover a whole family, and allows each user to upload and download content from multiple devices and instantly share with other family members. File encryption and user-specific ID and password ensure content in a user’s private area remains separate from the shared area in HomeSync.

Entertainment on a Big Screen

The HomeSync brings the best of Android gaming, movies, TV shows and streaming content direct into your living room. It allows you to stream content from your Galaxy device wirelessly to the TV – letting you watch, see and use all your home videos, photos and apps, and all at a full HD 1080p.

Giving any HDTV new Smarts

Users can enjoy the full and familiar Android experience with HomeSync’s Jelly Bean media player and access to Play Store and all of your apps. HomeSync also enables new ways to interact with your content via the control modes enabled wirelessly on the phone.

HomeSync will be available from April 2013 in select countries and continue to expand globally.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Spoken Word™

    If the price is right I could definitely see a use case for this in my home.

  • Lachlan

    Well, I have a Samsung "SmartTV" and it's interface is awful. Any idea how you would control it?

    Also, let's be honest: will it be any better than a $99 Apple TV running XBMC?

    • peterfares

      1TB local storage is useful for some folks. You'll be able to install XBMC on it, too, since there is an XBMC for Android. Won't even need to be hacked or anything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      ahhhh an iSheep

    • wavydavy

      Yes the interface is awful which is why you install the official Plex app on it instead, XBMC is not an option for AppleTV since it does not work with AppleTV 3's.

      • Frank007

        I've spoken with an electronics technician here in my local area who says that XBMC can be installed on the Apple TV 3's although the units would have to be jailbroken first and then the firmware would have to be replaced with the older version. I guess the newest firmware has the tighter security that is harder to hack into.

  • HeathRichardson

    They are calling this a set top box, can you use a cable card with it?

  • deltatux

    Like others have said, if it's priced right, I wouldn't mind getting one. Hope it's also extensible to allow TV recording capabilities, if that's the case, then I can basically ditch my HTPC completely.

    • Freak4Dell

      This is what I'm desperately waiting for. I want to stop renting DVRs from Verizon, I want Android, and I want to give my money to whatever company makes this possible. I can't believe we've come so far with Android, yet nobody has made this yet.

  • http://twitter.com/ElooieIV Edward Lewis

    if it supports xbox/ps3 controllers with the full playstore game library then this could be pretty good. At least for games that support controllers.
    I really dont understand why it is so hard to put android on a TV box. between bluetooth keyboards and usb gamecontrollers it should already be there.

    • Jeremy Gilliam

      It has. The LG 47" and 55" Google TV's. I bought one a couple days ago and it is Great! Just needs more so support to make it spectacular!

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    $99 would be the ideal price, but I have a feeling this will be $250+.

    • peterfares

      There is absolutely zero chance this is going to be $99. A 1TB 2.5" hard drive alone costs around $70.

      • TheFirstUniverseKing

        Which is why I think adding a 1TB hard drive into this is a huge mistake. If there are people who are fine with just 16GB of space for their Android device (cough Nexus 4/Droid DNA owners cough), why does Samsung think they need to raise the price of this niche device by adding such a large capacity drive to it?

        EDIT: And I'm not saying that this should only have 16GB, but 256GB would be more than enough for most consumers, especially if there's an SD card slot.

        • peterfares

          Because this is a box meant to house lots of videos, music, and photos locally. There are already a TON of options which they can't compete with on price if you simply want to run XBMC on your TV. 16GB just won't cut it for a HTPC that requires local storage. If you don't need local storage, you can get a $50 Android stick.

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            I edited my post as you were writing yours, but I'll restate this: I'm not saying that this should only have 16GB, but 256GB would be more than enough for most consumers, especially if there's an SD card slot. They can still make a 1TB option for those users who need a ton of storage, but most don't. Unless this is surprisingly cheap, I don't *get* why they would go for niche consumers for an already niche device.

          • peterfares

            The low end android TV device is saturated. There's only the high end that they have no competitors in.

          • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

            I got to say, 1 terabyte ant enough storage either... I have a Acer easystore h340 windows home server, that I got when I bought my GTV... I have 8 terabytes, I've used about 3 terabytes so far... I use Plex to stream all my media...

        • PINJ

          There Are HD Movies Bigger Than 16GB.

          • http://www.facebook.com/paul.tobeck Paul Tobeck

            I'm sure Samsung was considering that most people would be downloading Play store movies, and most of those in HD are less than 2GB.
            Can XBMC for Android even play unconverted rips (VOBs)?

        • http://XDInd.com/ Adam

          I have half s terabyte of media right now.

          That won't fit on sn SD card

          • PINJ

            I Have A Half Terabyte Sd Card. Sadly It Costs More Than Whetever The HS Will Cost.

        • primalxconvoy

          And usb for external storage. Samsung seem to not get tv to Android, what with the overpriced smart Dock and high latency all share cast dongle.

        • Jillxz

          16GB of space don't even start it for most people. Sammy knows what people want.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.tobeck Paul Tobeck

        A 1 TB HD retails for $70. Manufacturer cost is much lower.
        I agree, this will not be $99. Hopefully Sammy doesn't overprice it.

    • PINJ

      I Estimated $299. Hope My 5 Year Streak Of Predicting Console Prices Will Continue.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pbooker117 Phillip Booker

    Priced at $150 with a nice interface and I'd get rid of my Vizio Co-Star.

  • Jeremy Gilliam

    For those of you looking for the competitor, look at LG Google TV. I have one and love it. Unbelievable and great interface! Makes Samsung look horrible...

    • Aleksey_US

      Google TV is a failure, I've had my Logitech Revue sitting collecting dust for a while... full android is the only way to go in my opinion, even though many apps will look like shit, it's better than 30 apps that you have a choice of on GTV.

      • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

        All we need hear is a Nexus GTV... And some NDK's for developers... I don't have the same problem as you... Haven't stoped using my Sony Blu-ray GTV since beta...

  • Vandré Brunazo

    There's a bit of a misconception here. Google TV does have "the full play store". The reason it has much less apps is because GTV devices comes with some restrictions that most apps are not compatible with. The two biggest ones are the lack of NDK, and lack of touchscreen support. The lack of touchscreen is by far the single biggest reason why there's so few apps on the play store for TVs. What happens is that Android apps are marked to require a touchscreen device by default. Most developers leave that there reagardless. And Google TV devices are marked as not being a touchscreen device. So most Android apps will not show on your Google TV play store.

    This being the default, is a mistake by google imho. My bet is that about 80% of the apps missing from Google TV play store, would show up and work find if only the app developer didn't make it "require" a touchscreen (most tv remotes do have touchpads anyway). I don't think that should be the default. Hopefully that will change.

    BTW, you can still sideload apps on your GTV and they'll usually work fine. Though that's obviously far from ideal.

    • PINJ

      So Basically They Are Right, You're Wrong And I've Just Read Trough A Uselesse Piece Of S**** Text. S For Short.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

        Your simple mind is the reason people have to explain things two or three times. Your coworkers must love you.

  • PINJ

    They Should've Called It Samsung Ativ HomeSync

  • DJ

    Give me Blu-Ray, DVR, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon and *then* I'll consider replacing my Windows 8 Media center...until then, not interested!!!

    • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

      It has all but DVR, and Hulu...

    • http://XDInd.com/ Adam

      Huluu and netflix are in the play store

      • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

        Hulu doesn't work on GoogleTV, they even block you on websites...

  • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

    I'm just hoping Google does something this year at Google I/O with the GoogleTV platform... They need to release a Nexus Q/GoogleTV hybrid, and keep the cost down... I love my GTV, and want to get another soon... I want a Nexus GTV Google!!!!!!

  • Rob Mahon

    I'd love to see what controller it's using. If they go for the xbox/wii like, or the existing GoogleTV like UI. Also, what 3D chip does this use? This could be a fantastic over all media device including gaming, that doesn't normally get much of a look in.

    • Frank007

      I'm not sure what kind of controller it will be using, but as a different poster mentioned above, it may have trouble with some apps because it is not known as touch enabled. The other thing that I found interesting is that when comparing this product to something similar like the WD TV Live Hub, is doesn't specify that it supports ISO / VOB video playback which means it might have trouble playing back the stored images / copies (ISO's) of peoples DVD or Bluray movies that they would like to store on this hard drive or on network storage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.tobeck Paul Tobeck

    Anymore than $200 would be a deal breaker.
    I didn't see any mention of NFC or Miracast-like abilities that would be comparable to Airplay. Or will this be covered by a new "Homesync" feature in upcoming Samsung phones?

    • Frank007

      I believe that I saw a YouTube video showing that you can tap this unit using a Samsung smart phone for then to sync using the NFC capability. Samsung also has it's own version of Airplay which is the service that they call Allshare. I'm not sure about the mirroring capability, but I know that with Allshare, it can look for sources of pictures, music, and video on DLNA enabled devices in the same area / network. My experience was with a Samsung smart TV which was locating video files on a Sony Vaio laptop.

  • Joel

    I'd bet on a $200 price point to match the WD TV Live Hub, since that seems to be the only really comparable competitor I've seen (there's no Roku with a disk). As for the smart TV interface, I wouldn't hold my breath for much similarity with existing hardware, because I believe the smart TV uses the Yahoo TV widgets (the same API the Vizio TVs and BD players use), while the Play Store access on this one makes me think we'll see something a little more Holo- or TouchWiz-inspired.

  • primalxconvoy

    This would effectively replace the smart Dock and the streaming single, right? If it's cheap, I'm interested.