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Samsung's Video Discovery app turns your tablet into a super-sized TV remote

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Samsung Video Discovery app
Samsung Video Discovery app

Samsung's recently announced Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet features an integrated IR transmitter, which lets you control various televisions and set top boxes in your living room. To go along with the IR blaster, Samsung is bundling its new Video Discovery app with the Note 8.0, and we got a chance to test it out here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video Discovery essentially serves two main purposes: it lets you browse and watch what is currently airing on your TV and cable service, and it lets you purchase and watch movies and shows on your main TV set. Additionally, you can transfer the video content from your tablet to your TV and vice versa and use your tablet as a giant remote for your TV.

The app is essentially a rebranded version of Peel's TV remote app, similar to the one HTC is using for its Sense TV service on the One smartphone. Browsing through the listings in the TV guide section is pretty painless, and you can easily select a show to watch on your TV. The app connects to any TV with built-in Wi-Fi, and the IR remote feature can be programmed for most any TV or set top box. Changing channels using the guide isn't instantaneous — it took more than a few beats for the TV to react to our inputs — but we're not sure if that was a side effect of using the service in a crowded convention hall or if it is endemic to using Wi-Fi to control your TV. Scrolling in the app itself can definitely be smoother — there were numerous times where we couldn't tell if the app was accepting our inputs or it would start scrolling in the reverse direction of what we intended.

Update: Samsung reached out to us and said that the new Video Discovery app "is "an entirely new application developed by Samsung. It is not a rebranded version of Peel." We heard otherwise in our briefing earlier this week, but it sounds like Samsung in fact made this app from the ground up.

For on-demand video, you can choose from a large catalog of TV shows and movies, and Video Discovery lets you purchase the content from Samsung's Media Hub or through a subscription service such as Netflix. You can also view descriptions of each show or movie and see Rotten Tomatoes ratings without having to jump out of the app.

Samsung says that the Video Discovery app will be available in the US, Europe, and Korea in the near future, and it will eventually be made available for devices other than the Note 8.0.