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In brief: As video game streaming struggles to find a steady foothold in the industry, service providers have partnered with television manufacturers to make it easier for players to get their game on through built-in apps. Samsung has jumped on board with its new Gaming Hub. Its 2022 sets will soon be the only smart TVs equipped with Microsoft's Xbox TV app for cloud gaming.
On Thursday, Samsung unveiled its new Gaming Hub for several of its 2022 smart TVs. The hub contains shortcuts to any of the consoles you may have plugged into the set using Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) to wake the console without turning it on manually or with a controller.
The hub also has game streaming apps baked in, so you don't need access to a browser or external hardware like Chromecast to start playing. It currently supports Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, Xbox TV, Utomik, and Twitch. Samsung says it will also be adding support for Amazon's Luna game-streaming service but didn't provide a timeframe.
Samsung Gaming Hub also has passthrough support for controllers and headsets, so users don't need to pair multiple accessories for their various services and consoles. Passthrough can allow players to use Xbox Series controllers with their PlayStation or their Xbox without re-pairing since the devices are synced with the TV instead of the console.
Samsung's Gaming Hub is not a first by any means. Several other television manufacturers already have similar user interfaces. Visio's Smartcast was recently updated to include support for most video and game streaming. However, the Xbox TV app, which enables Game Pass cloud gaming, is currently only available on Samsung smart TVs. However, Microsoft intends to partner with more OEMs in the months to come.
Samsung did not have a precise release date for the interface, only saying that the hub would come with a firmware update to 2022 televisions later this year. It also noted that while a Samsung account is not necessary to use Gaming Hub, it is recommended so that users can reliably sync their game progress with its streaming partners.