Samsung just released a new SmartThings hub in September, but the company is already working to make it obsolete. Today, Samsung has announced that it's building SmartThings hub functionality into its line of 2016 SUHD TVs.
Part of the solution is a new, free USB stick called SmartThings Extend, which features ZigBee and Z-Wave wireless radios that allow the full-range of SmartThings-compatible products to TVs. Everything can then be controlled from the SmartThings mobile app, as well as a new SmartThings app for SUHD TVs.
Samsung previously showed off a SmartThings app for its TVs at CES 2015, but it appears the Korean giant has reworked it into this new solution, which it will be debuting next week at CES 2016.
The rest of Samsung's 2016 smart TV lineup will also connect to SmartThings, but won't be able to act as a hub. Regardless, integrating your TV into your smart home setup definitely has its advantages. Just imagine being able to activate a Movie Night scene, which dims the lights, turns on your TV, and loads the Netflix app.
Samsung's new SUHD TVs will boast a similar feature called "Cinema Mood," allowing users to adjust things like surround sound and lighting. In addition, the SmartThings SUHD app will provide access to security camera footage, display motion alerts from sensors, lock and unlock doors, and even activate SmartThings "routines."
This move is a smart play on Samsung's part, and reflects a larger trend in the industry. Apple has turned its Apple TV into a hub for HomeKit, Google and Nest are turning the thermostat into a hub, and even Amazon is doing the same thing with its new Fire TV.
It's hard to convince consumers to spend $100 on a standalone hub. But if that hub comes built into TVs, it might make consumers much more interested in trying out smart home tech.
Samsung has yet to announce a specific release date for the new TVs and SmartThings Extend USB stick, but they will be released in 2016. We'll bring you plenty more news on Samsung and SmartThings next week at CES 2016.
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