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.
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.”