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Opera Software announced last week that its Software Development Kit (SDK) has been deployed on some of the 2013 Samsung Blu-ray players, offering superior online video support for YouTube, BBC iPlayer and more.
"Samsung has raised the bar for connected home entertainment products with the Opera Devices SDK," says Aneesh Rajaram, Senior Vice President of TV & Devices for Opera Software. "With best-in-class support for web and TV standards, plus unmatched rendering performance, the new Samsung Blu-ray players with popular web-based online video will make it even more tempting to stay on the couch."
Janko Roettgers at Gigom writes that Samsung’s platform has been evolving from an all-purpose app platform towards a more TV-centric approach for high-end TV sets and thus the move towards Opera.
But perhaps it's the fact that Opera is slowly but surely cutting deals 'with everyone else' to use their rendering engine - including TVs and connected devices from Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp, Philips, Boxee TV, just to name a few. And they have a deep relationship with Sony Bravia including driving the TV Apps store as well. Opera powers the web on the tens of millions of devices from more than 50 manufacturers including, Amino, Humax, Airties, Freesat+, Vestel, TCL, Humax, MediaTek and Altech.
Can Samsung afford not to test the waters with Opera? No, not really. Nor can they afford to ignore Google TV, as LG, their main competitors in the Smart TV space, is diving full force into that relationship. Samsung's attempt to ringfence their development community into a Bada/Smart TV ecosystem could prove to be even more challenging.
Opera, who are used to dealing with third party developers and have deep roots in HTML5, (which is surely the future for multiplatform engagement and TV Everywhere) could end up being a very attractive option for 'code once deploy everywhere' else but Samsung. It's a shame that Opera seems to have discontinued its exploration of integration between tablets and smartphones and TV for third party developers (second screen seems to have disappeared from Opera TV site as well), but have pulled back and now only allow those who provide content to the Opera TV App store to utilise second screen engagement.
Opera's focus on pushing their own TV App store on the big screen is a challenge on multiple levels - Yahoo Connected TV Store more or less has tumbleweeds (being an app ecosystem within an app ecosystem is not easy). Many industry pundits are predicting the death of the big screen TV app store as a destination and talking about second screen takeover for discovery, dissemination and discussion.
Flicking video from tablet and smartphone to TV using DLNA is the next big thing, as Apple Airplay is showing. And everyone else playing catchup with DIAL, including Netflix, Youtube, Samsung, Sony, Hulu and the BBC... as well as some startups carving into the arena including Zapstreak, Flingo and Movl.