New Samsung smart TVs are upgradable

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

Samsung has launched its 2012 series of TVs, each containing a "Smart Evolution Kit", allowing the TV to be upgraded.

(Credit: Samsung)

The range was initially announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

While Samsung was still light on the Evolution Kit details, it is essentially a system on a chip, allowing you to upgrade your TV to the latest hardware. In theory, this extra capability will bring new applications, enhanced user experience and potentially better image-processing technology. The TV will, of course, be limited by the capability of its original panel and backlight, but Samsung is betting on a portion of its audience being willing to spend AU$149 to get new features, instead of buying an entirely new TV.

TVs will be supported five years from release with upgrade kits, with a new upgrade kit planned yearly.

Upgrading isn't the only thing on the agenda; content is a big part of Samsung's smart TV strategy. The 2012 line-up features tighter integration with Telstra's BigPond Movies and TV services, along with Foxtel access via an app, operating in a similar manner to the Foxtel app on the Xbox 360. Samsung Music Hub, Quickflix, Wiggle Time TV and Plus 7 have also been added to the stable, while a Wii Fit-like app is also bundled, taking advantage of the TV's built-in camera. Users who purchase a Series 7 or 8 TV in July will receive eight Olympics channels for free to watch during the event.

Samsung will supply free installation and set-up with all of its smart TVs sold in 2012.

The new smart TVs are taking a multi-input approach, offering face recognition, voice control, gesture navigation and a remote with touch pad-style navigation. You can either talk to the TV directly, or, if you're a shy, retiring type, you can mumble something into the remote. Philip Newton, Samsung's director of Audio Visual, was quick to assure that the TVs will understand Australian accents.

Known pricing and availability:

  • Samsung Series 8 Smart LED TV 60-inch (ES8000): RRP AU$5399, June

  • Samsung Series 8 Smart LED TV 55-inch (ES8000): RRP AU$4599, April

  • Samsung Series 7 Smart LED TV 55-inch (ES7500): RRP AU$3999, April

  • Samsung Series 7 Smart LED TV 46-inch (ES7500): RRP AU$2999, April

  • Samsung Series 8 Smart Plasma TV 64-inch (E8000): RRP AU$3899, April

  • Samsung Series 8 Smart Plasma TV 60-inch (E8000): RRP AU$2899, April

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rhizopus posted a comment   

I have a series 7 and I would not recommend the voice or motion control. The voice control is very poor, our 2 1/2 year old son sets it off so much we turned off the feature (no he can barely talk). The motion control isn't much better, we found it frequently activating when we did not intend it to and spent more time canceling it than actually intentionally using it so we have deactivated it also.

The timed recording function is very sensitive to delays in the program and more often then not does not record the programs if they have not started exactly on time.

I took a recent software update to try and address this and now the TV frequently locks up and reboots. We can barely use any of the features any more.

I am sure these are all very good features but they all have VERY long way to go yet before they are worth the money.


jmds posted a comment   

We bought a so called LG 3D TV model 47LW6500 last December and we found out that it was very dumb after all.It was not able to play most internet content as it has an obsolete Flash payer 8 installed and most content on the internet is Flash Player 10 or above.We were told by LG that it cannot be upgraded.We were sold a lemon on false pretences.We would like to take this opportunity to warn people to stay away from LG.


Im Batman posted a comment   

I like the idea of the upgradeable board, technology does move fast... and often faster and beyond what software updates can... and lightspeed compared to people buying new TVs.

My only skeptical concern is that they would hold back a feature from an upgrade.. to make you buy the next one. But i doubt they would go to that level.

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