Types of Samsung TV Apps

Choosing From Over 200 Samsung Apps - Which Samsung Apps Should You Try?

Samsung App Armchair Astronaut
Just one of the many video apps. The Armchair Astronaut Samsung App is 3D. The planets rotate out of the TV and into your living room. Photo (c) Barb Gonzalez - Licensed to About.com

For those considering a Samsung TV (compare prices), one of its unique features is Samsung apps.  Samsung Smart TVs have a wide variety of useful, unique and quirky apps similar to the types of apps found on Android phones.   

Apps on a TV are a new concept and not a bad one.  There are more than 200 apps — from those that help you get ready in the morning, to those that connect to your social media, to apps commonly found on network TVs, like Vudu and Netflix.

In the Samsung App Store, you'll find categories for videos, games, sports, lifestyle, information and "other" apps.  Some of these apps are for an international audience — Yupp TV is TV from India while other apps are Korean.  Be sure to read the details about the app before you buy to be sure it is an app that is for your region and in the language you want.  

Here are some examples of the types of apps you'll find in the Samsung App store.

Video and Audio Apps

Samsung has included just about every online video content app you could want.  Available movie apps include Netflix and several video-on-demand services — Vudu, Cinema Now, Blockbuster,  and Hulu Plus, which is also available to watch your favorite TV shows, requires a Hulu Plus subscription.  The only missing popular online video app is Amazon On Demand.

Video Aggregators -- Video aggregating apps bring together several different video podcast or web channels.

 

"Making Of" -- Other video apps like “Making Of” have niche video content — in this case, behind-the-scenes videos of popular films.  These short movies made by the studios are higher quality than some web videos in other video aggregating apps.

3D Offerings

Many of the Samsung Smart TVs are 3D capable.

  With 3D content being scarce, there are only a few apps to feed your 3D craving.  There is limited content in these apps and they haven't been updated since they were originally downloaded several months ago.   We can only hope that there will be more apps as more people get excited about 3D.

"Armchair Astronaut" -- Travel through our solar system with this informative 3D app.  Planets jump out from the TV and rotate above your coffee table as you read statistics about their size and makeup.  Or learn about the sun and our solar system. This a great app for students and astronomy buffs.  The app costs $1.99 to download. 

"3D TV Album - Washington DC" -- This app is a slideshow of sights in our nation's capital.  This is not merely one of those 3D photo programs with depth that retreats from the screen, as on a Viewmaster: These photos actually jut out into your room.  It does take a little practice to focus on various 3D planes until the image pops out of the TV, but it is a cool feature when it finally does.  Still, other than enjoying it a few times and showing your friends, the content is limited.  The app price is $1.99.

"Explore 3D" Movie Trailers – This is a 3D video app that shows the previews of a couple of 3D movies.

  The app came with trailers for "Shrek," "Megamind" and "How To Train Your Dragon."  Unfortunately, no new trailers or features have been added since the app came out.

Proceed to Page 2: Samsung Lifestyle and Game Apps

Lifestyle Apps - Music and Social Apps

The lifestyle category includes social media, how-to apps, art, travel, and music.  There are also a number of unique and quirky apps.

The music category includes popular apps like "Pandora", "Napster" and "VTuner Internet Radio".

Individual Apps for Social Media connect you to FacebookTwitter, and the Picasa photo-sharing sites.  If you want to see the latest of what’s happening with your friends view photos or videos or, post a quick status update, it can be a satisfying experience.

  You’ll need to store the login information on your TV.

To create and store the login information for online accounts like Facebook, Pandora, and Picasa, go to the Settings menu and to "internet@TVLogin."  Once you've logged in to your Samsung account, there will be a list of apps that require logins.  Click "connect" next to the app and enter your username and password for each app.  It helps to have the Samsung remote control app for a Samsung Android phone to use the app's QWERTY keyboard.

Art Apps -- Included in this category are a number of “Gallery On TV” apps that will display the works of different painters — Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, for instance — or types of paintings, fine art and other groups.  Unfortunately, these do not turn your TV into a frame for virtual art, as the artwork does not fill the screen.  Also, these apps could use optional background music.  Each "Gallery On TV" costs $1.99.  "A3" displays the works of British photo-artist Michael Banks.  If you are a fan of his work, be aware that it is one of the higher-priced apps at $4.99 

Travelwizard” – The Virtuoso Travel Agency created this “experiential travel guide" includes with travel and cruise videos for "sophisticated travelers.”  You can click through videos of exotic trips, including a cruise of the Arctic and other areas, and beautiful destinations.  These well-made, often HD videos are like a mini vacation.  It's a free app and recommended for the armchair tourist.

"HSN" -- The Home Shopping Network app makes it even easier to spend your money for those impulse buys.  The app shows the video feed of what is currently selling on the TV channel, along with a list of the latest offerings and product details.  If shopping on TV is your thing, this app is a must.

Other useful lifestyle includes “How to Tie a Tie,” “My Skin” to choose the right skin-care product and a guide to the “Denver Underground” music scene.  The "SPSTV" app has video tutorials for all of the Samsung products from cell phones to camcorders, and the Geek Squad app that has videos to help you use your electronics 

"Relax” – This app that combines soothing ambient music with beautiful scenery photos.  The app may be more irritating than relaxing if you notice that the loop of soothing sounds will pause and restart every 20 seconds.  Similarly, "Smile Pet" uses either a classical music or heartbeat loop to keep your pet company when you're gone.  “Smile Pet” has the same pause between loops, but your dog or cat may not notice it.  This app was designed for people who like to leave their TV on for their pet.  However, it won't give them a lot of variety.

"Amos TV" —Calling itself "Ambient Television," this is probably a better app for soothing music videos and beautiful cinematography.  The free version offers trailers of the videos.  The full Amos TV app runs $4.99.  Note that Amos is found in the "video" category. 

Game Apps

A growing list of game apps available in the Samsung App store includes such favorites as Sudoku and Bejeweled, memory games, and an old-fashioned Pac-Man game.

Some games, like “Drop Duel” and “Texas Hold ‘Em,” offer you the option of playing on the TV or playing with friends.  Now the TV becomes a center of entertaining your friends. Other games like “We Draw” require more than one player and an app for your smartphones. 

To increase your brain power, there are a couple of apps offer mental training,  including “Dr. Brain” and “Brain Challenge.”  These games are designed to develop and improve different parts of your brain and include logic, fast judgment, and memory training.  At $9.99 and $4.99, they are pricier than other just-for-fun game apps.

Proceed to Page 3: Samsung Apps for Sports, Health and Fitness and Children's Learning Games

Sports apps

Samsung’s sports apps include apps to follow professional sports as well as health and fitness apps.

ESPN Scorecenter” and  “ESPN Next Level” – These apps offer sports scores and sports news.  Both can be displayed over your current TV program so that you can get background info related to the sport you are watching — or get sports scores and news while your spouse is watching "Desperate Housewives."  There is also the popular “MLB.TV” app where subscribers can view streams of baseball games.  "NBA Game Time Lite" shows game highlights, scores, and stats.

Other sports apps are available for niche audiences.  “Willow TV” lets you watch cricket.  “Wave Riders” describes itself as showing videos of “babes, bikinis, and big air.”

Fitness Apps --Rather than buy a fitness video, you can get follow-along instructions directly from a Samsung App.  While “Yoga TV” at $19.99 shows a series of yoga class videos, other apps simply display illustrations of exercises for you to follow.  “Yoga Helper,” “Do Squats” and “Pushup Master” by Hello Coach are either free or 99 cents, and can take you through a complete exercise program.

The “Yoga Helper” app has great explanations and illustrations of poses and can be set for your yoga ability.  It displays a timer for you to get into a pose, then one for how long to stay in the pose.  The only problem is that you often aren’t looking at the TV while you are in a yoga pose.  The addition of some audio signal for when it is time to change would be a great help. 

Information Apps

If you like to get breaking news as soon as it happens, there are apps that have the news you want -- "AP News Ticker" and "USA Today".   

DashWhoa” -- This is the type of app that you might use every morning.  There is a large display of the date and time, an hour-by-hour weather report and a local map that shows local traffic conditions.  Note that the map displays your local street names in both English and Korean — undoubtedly due to the Samsung’s production in Korea.

Other informational apps include "Google Maps" and "AccuWeather".  While the free AccuWeather app displays general weather in your area, the $2.99 AccuWeather app can be set for your zip code and displays details of hourly or 10-day weather forecasts.

"Other" Apps

The “other” category is actually apps for small children. Many versions of “Dibo” and “Hungry Pinky” are a must for parents who want to educate their kids while they keep them entertained in front of the TV; there are plenty of apps from which to choose.

The Samsung app platform is still growing.  While many of the apps are basic and unsophisticated, there are a few apps that stand out.  More apps are being developed that for 2011 TV models that will not work on the 2010 Samsung Smart TVs.  Be sure to check the details of an app for compatibility information.  If you just want a few of the best apps, here is my list of the top 10 Samsung Apps

Samsung Apps: Notes for both TVs and Blu-ray Disc Players

It is important to note that Samsung Apps also work on Samsung's line of network-enabled 2010 and 2011 line of Blu-ray Disc Players. However, some of the newer apps don't work on 2010 model Blu-ray disc players, or 2010 Smart TVs for that matter.

The home screen on the TV and Blu-ray disc players will note in green that it is the 2010 Samsung App or Interenet@TV version if it's not a 2011 model.

When you click on some apps, it will show if it has limited compatibility. They also have Samsung apps for their phones in the Samsung app store (in Korea, not in U.S. yet) that may not be applicable to Samsung TVs or Blu-ray disc players.

Stay tuned for more updates in this area as they become available.

For a more in-depth look and explanation of Samsung Apps, check out our Complete Guide to Samsung Apps