Apple iTV vs. Samsung Smart TV: Has Apple Lost Its Early Yet Tentative Lead?

This week's battleground in the escalating war between Apple and Samsung is focused on Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone vs. Apple’s aging iPhone 5, but many are wondering about future fronts — particularly on larger screens, in which each company puts forth new smart TV offerings.

Apple has teased its own television release for years, calling its current puck-shaped peripheral a hobby, while promising a much more impressive future. All of the anticipation and speculation, especially after Apple founder Steve Jobs’ enigmatic posthumously published revelation of a nascent smart TV revolution, has led many current TV manufacturers to take a few preemptive chances.

Some of those chances have been so impressive — offering features that Apple fans had expected to come from their favorite company — that some analysts are wondering if Samsung may have stolen Apple’s thunder.

One of the most popular recent posts on asked, “Will Apple’s iTV Actually Be Samsung’s SmartTV?,” which made a few observations and judgments on the current situation that have proved controversial among readers.

“What if Samsung succeeds at building a user experience that is comparable or superior to what Apple comes up with?” Forbes contributor Anthony Wing Kosner asked. “Apple could find itself on the sidelines of the next big thing.”

Kosner discusses the Samsung F8000 Smart TV with Smart Hub that was shown at 2013 CES in January and its possible advantages.

The Samsung F8000 will reportedly feature typical Netflix and less typical Blockbuster streaming video content on launch later this year, with an expected and unprecedented focus on premium YouTube streaming content. This comes as little surprise, since YouTube’s parent company, Google, has had a very successful relationship with Samsung in the Android-powered smartphones that have recently been putting a lot of pressure on Apple.

He compares this with what he anticipates as Apple’s move, working with cable providers to offer a more traditional TV content experience — which may cost customers more money, and may cost Apple more customers.

Though some readers wondered what Kosner was talking about, and why, he seems to have refused to acknowledge any of the other participants in this race that really hasn’t even started yet.

“Mr. Kosner, Isn’t it possible there will be even more ‘players’ in that sector than Apple and a Samsung/Google combination?” commenter John Strom asked. “I would suspect at the very least Microsoft will give it a hard look perhaps with Comcast or another major content provider. The key is content and none will be able to move forward without it. Apple should consider buying out Time Warner or at least their content. Or buying Disney. Or buying Comcast or DirecTV. They and only they can afford to do it – regardless of the tie between Samsung and Google. In the end healthy nose to nose competition benefits the consumers anyway.”

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