Samsung Software Lets You Control Smart Appliances from TV

If you have smart devices in your home, such as security cameras, electronic locks or remote thermostats, you can already control them from your PC or mobile device. Soon, you'll be able to control them from your television as well. Samsung's latest software development kit (SDK) allows programmers to create protocols for users to control their homes without leaving the TV.

Samsung has released version 5.0 of its SmartTV SDK. At present, Samsung's SmartTVs can run apps ranging from Netflix to Pandora, and a wide variety of video and music streaming services in between.

Samsung's SDK is available to any interested programmer, meaning that in the future, SmartTVs could support home automation.

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"The SDK 5.0 … will enable consumers to control their home appliances – including lighting, air-conditioning and refrigerators – by using Samsung's Smart TV application," Samsung said in a statement.

Home automation is a growing trend that allows users to control various aspects of their home — from thermometers and refrigerators to door locks and security cameras — from remote locations. This means that you can unlock your door for a guest from halfway around the world, or have your fridge let you know when you run low on milk.

By giving developers the ability to create home automation controls that sync with SmartTVs, Samsung is effectively promoting its SmartTV line as a home automation hub. The only question is what kind of audience needs to control smart home tech from a television.

Tech-savvy consumers who own both SmartTVs and home automation gadgets are exactly the kind of people who would also own a smartphone or a tablet. Adjusting the thermostat or turning off the lights upstairs without leaving the TV is convenient, to be sure, but any existing smart home mobile app worth its salt can do this as well.

The new SDK will also support HTML5 protocols, which open up the SmartTV for all manner of sophisticated video, animation and design choices. By combining HTML5 design with smart home apps, an enterprising developer could make a case for why the TV is an ideal smart home controller. What form this hypothetical app will take, though, is anyone's guess.

Samsung also manufactures a number of smart appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines and ovens. Using its Smart TVs as a hub may simply be a way for the electronics company to provide a focal point for a home full of Samsung products.

Even so, simply providing smart appliance support in an SDK is no guarantee that smart-home apps are coming. Samsung has not provided any information about upcoming app types or release dates. For now, if you absolutely can't get up to turn the heat on, you'll have to rely on your phone to do it. It's a tough life.

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.