Samsung's 2012 TV Lineup: Smart TV, Gestures And Upgrades

At last night's launch of its 2012 TV range, Samsung was at pains to promote its Smart TV offerings, which this year will include fitness apps, Foxtel and both talk and physical navigation options. The bigger breaking news from last night's launch was undoubtedly that Samsung will be offering Foxtel as an option through selected TV models later this year, as well as eight free Olympics channels for anyone who buys a series 7 or series 8 TV. But that wasn't the entire story for Samsung's TV range, which (like last year) is all about pushing the Smart TV message, albeit a message that they were also pushing at this year's CES.

Foxtel's a nice little coup for Samsung to engineer; while I can't imagine it'll entice somebody already on a Foxtel contract, it's definitely a nice bit of oneupmanship. Some of Samsung's offerings weren't so fresh, however, and represented more of a catch-up, with services such as Plus7 and Wiggle Time TV (already available on competing models) being pitched as part of the buying pitch.

Samsung's still heavily investing in Smart TV applications as well; I had a brief demonstration of an inbuilt VOD-based home fitness program that offers a variety of exercise routines that use the inbuilt camera on the TV to offer you a "mirror" mode that allows you to see yourself next to the video instructor. It's not quite Kinect, but I could see some utility in it for some. Likewise, the Kids hub offers a variety of (shudder) "edutainment" programs and games for the family rug rat.

Samsung also announced a measure of future prooofing with the new TV range, which comes with an expansion slot that'll allow this year's TVs to be upgraded for a minimum of five years to match features in future sets. That's not a free offering — it'll cost $149 for each year's expansion board — and it wasn't entirely clear at the launch what would happen if you skipped a given year's upgrade board.

From a control perspective, the humble remote control is apparently passé; select models in the new line feature touch, voice and gesture controls, with inbuilt cameras able to perform face recognition as well. Launches are always a terrible place to properly assess that kind of technology — it's noisy, badly lit and of course the vendor is largely in control of the choices open to you — but I'm still not totally sold on the technology, if only because I rather like physical buttons. Perhaps I'm a dinosaur.

The Australian TV market's become ever more price centric, and Samsung's clearly going for a "premium" style strategy here; at the launch Phil Newton, head of audio visual Samsung Australia stated that

"For the last 12 months it's all been about low quality, low cost sets; it gives the market a bad name."

Hmm. I wonder who he could be referring to there? Samsung's pitch at that entry level market comes from the EH series LED TVs, which start at $479 for a 26 inch model. That gives Samsung an immense price range, as the top-end series 8 ES8000 60 inch model will set you back $5,399.


Comments

    Is it just me, or should this article be titled "Samsung releases new TVs".
    There's NO lineup at all here, in fact there's only one model number and that's right at the end and it's the most expensive one.

    Just wondering with regards to the Olympic channels on Foxtel with the Samsung TV's, will Foxtel on Xbox 360 subscribers be offerred any Olympic channels with the sport package and/or additional fee?

    They have dominated smartphones.....looks like they're doing the same with TVs.

    I like the idea of an expansion board, I just got a Samsung Series 7 delivered today... then again whether or not upgradable features are worth the money is another question.

    Will the catchup services be coming to the existing line-up? I have a 10 month old 6 Series and am worried that it's going to be left behind as Samsung want me to buy a new TV

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Sounds like they paid you to go away. I'd be willing to do that to you too.

    Besides their inconsistincies in screen quality, have u noticed the 8000 series side profiles have been getting progressivly fatter i.e when viewed from the side. I have a 2009 8000 series which is 10mm wide , todays S.8000 side profile is 20+mm. OK so whats with that samsung? Going backwards in terms of slim design. Bring on amoled.

    What about the75 inch ?

    I bought a samsung 60D8000 recently and the flash player crashes when playing web embadded complied you tube clips particularly just few minuts after changing from one clip to another. Can we expect another firmware updates for D series soon to fix this problem? Can anyone help me to fix the problem? I have already updated firmware and reset the smart hub as Samsung advised but still the problem remains.

    Thanks

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