Samsung Smart Cable Box Launching 11/5 @ $200?

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2013

samsung-smart-cable-boxThanks to a recently uncovered Amazon listing, we now have a bit more detail on Samsung’s upcoming hybrid set-top box that mates digital cable, via CableCARD, with over-the-top Internet apps like Netflix. Sorta like a TiVo. Without a hard drive or DVR capabilities…

The curious Samsung solution, first uncovered via FCC filings and later filmed in action at the Cable Show, looks primed to launch early November at $200 as a “Smart Cable Box” that includes WiFi. I suppose it might make a decent enough den or kitchen TV accessory, but given ongoing CableCARD complexity (and rental fee) it might be simplest to augment an operator’s basic cable box with an inexpensive Roku for similar results.

8 responses to Samsung Smart Cable Box Launching 11/5 @ $200?

  1. The interface is basically like their (or anyone’s) Blu-ray players or connected TV, but with the CCs the only advantage is that you don’t have to switch sources on your receiver. I’ve never found switching sources to be that hard. But I have found living without a DVR to be nearly life threatening (my wife would threaten my life if I said I was bringing home something that wasn’t a DVR).

  2. Or at least a DVR extender, like the (currently out-of-stock) TiVo Mini…

    Speaking of which, no mention if this Samsung will hit customers with a monthly fee “for guide data” – I doubt it, but you just never know.

  3. MSOs like to complain about the unnecessary complexities and costs associated with CableCARDs, but without them, or without some pretty hefty regulation, boxes like this one would not be able to exist.

  4. For TiVo HHs, the TiVo Mini (in-stock at Amazon) at $236 ($86+$150) is a better value especially when mated to a Roamio DVR.

  5. Yeah, if you’re already on TiVo, Sam’s would be the obvious approach (unless you want Amazon VOD – Samsung has it, Mini doesn’t). However, no integrated WiFi is what’s kept me from getting one in the kitchen since I’d need to add a wireless bridge ($40ish). Been making do with OTA and tablets.

    Sharon, I had been preparing a “Common Sense CableCARD” letter to the FCC in defense of the somewhat open standard. But I lost motivation to complete it before the deadline hit – much of it was timing (life) and some of it “inside baseball” – that we’ll perhaps save for another time.

  6. Dave,
    You could also use a Power over Ethernet Adapter Kit like the $25.99 TP-Link TL-POE200. Hassle free setup, no conguration required.

    ”The TL-POE200 is designed to deliver power and data over a single Ethernet cable to an Ethernet enabled device up to 100 m away. The
    PoE kit uses two devices, one, the ‘injector’ injects power and data into a single Ethernet cable while the other, the ‘splitter’ placed at the receiving end splits the power and data back into two cables to be used by the connected Ethernet device. This convenience allows users to place Ethernet enabled devices such as access points, IP cameras, or VoIP phones anywhere that they are best suited. [...]”

  7. Wow, that’s a great price for PoE kit. However, in my mission to eliminate clutter this is what I had in mind:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320095

    I have a prior version (without 802.11n) that works reasonably well and it’s powered by USB, so I can just hide it behind the TV and/or Mini along with a 6″ Ethernet cable via Monoprice.

    But I may have just blown the kitchen TV budget on the 3M pico projector with Roku Streaming Stick… ;)
    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/382990103045341184

  8. @DogsOfWar – you said “CCs the only advantage is that you don’t have to switch sources on your receiver”. The advantage is you don’t have to rent another receiver. Show me a receiver I can buy and plug directly into my TV. There are very few TV’s with CableCard slots, and they are expensive.