Starting on Sunday, Samsung fans will be able to purchase the company’s HomeSync media center. The set-top box on steroids will offer more features than any other – but its $299 price tag, enough to buy a trio of Apple TVs, may hinder mainstream adoption.
“HomeSync is the latest addition to the Galaxy family of products and builds on Samsung's commitment to delivering innovative devices and advanced technologies to consumers,” read the official press release from Samsung. “[It] is a powerful platform that we envision to be the center of a household's connected life.”
Like other set-top boxes – as well as Google’s popular Chromecast dongle – Samsung’s HomeSync will allow users to stream a variety of media to their televisions, effectively turning a normal HDTV into a “smart TV.” But streaming content is only one of its many abilities.
First of all, HomeSync is powered by Android 4.2 Jellybean, meaning that users can access the Google Play Store, YouTube, and Samsung’s various media hubs. It boasts a massive 1TB (terabyte) of internal storage, which can be utilized for syncing and storing content from Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
“Users control HomeSync via an app available for smartphones and tablets, but the box also supports wired or wireless mice and keyboards,” said Mashable. “For syncing, it supports several Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 8.0, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), Galaxy Camera and other devices that support Samsung Link.”
HomeSync is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core Exynos CPU with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. It also includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 4.0. It connects to HDTV via HDMI and has two USB 3.0 slots, a micro-USB port, and an Ethernet jack. Up to eight users can set up accounts on a single HomeSync.
While Samsung fans who are heavily invested in the Galaxy ecosystem are likely to purchase a HomeSync, more casual users may pass over the sleekly brushed-metal box. Competitors may not offer a terabyte of storage, but many set-top boxers offer the core features for a fraction of the price.
“For Android users, Roku’s $50-and-up set-top boxes allow you to send photos, videos, and music to the television. All you need is Roku’s free app, which works with all Android devices, not just Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets, and it’s available for iOS as well,” stated TechHive. “[Apple TV and Roku] have a wide selection of streaming video and music app to match HomeSync’s other features.”
For U.S. consumers, HomeSync will be available from Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, and the Samsung web shop. Perhaps softening a bit of sticker shock, Samsung will offer a $50 credit with all newly-purchased HomeSync consoles, to be spent in Samsung’s MediaHub store.