Maybe no other company has put together as impressive of a lineup of features as Samsung for 2012 with their ES8000 Smart TV. Samsung has managed to give television owners a pretty remarkable variety of ways to control their television, while adding a few more apps to round out a pretty solid user experience.
One of Samsung’s biggest additions to their ES8000 Smart TV this year is gesture control. Gesture control is activated by waving your hand in front of the television, then moving your hand to control the on-screen cursor. Selecting menu items and adjusting volume and other settings is handled by opening and closing your fist. Keeping your fist clenched will continually adjust the volume until you open your hand again. Web browser navigation can also be done by using your hand. Moving the cursor to the top or the bottom of the screen scrolls, while turning your hand in a counter-clockwise motion activates page back.
Since gesture is activated simply by waving your hand in front of the screen, you would imagine it would be easy to activate it by accident. Dropping your hand off screen or using the remote to control the television will automatically deactivate gesture control, preventing accidents from becoming a nuisance.
Users can fire up voice control by saying “Hi TV,” or, if that’s getting a little too friendly with a TV for your tastes, users can say “Smart TV,” using the microphone built-in to the new Samsung Smart TV remote control. Right now, only a limited number of menu options can be selected using your voice, though you can activate the Samsung Smart TV hub at any time using voice control, which is pretty convenient. When using the Web browser, you can go to a website just by speaking the name of the website into a search field.
The new Smart Touch Remote Control has more than just a microphone and a few buttons, though. The remote is far simpler and more sophisticated than its clunky QWERTY keyboard predecessor. The Smart Touch Remote Control keeps buttons to a minimum, relying instead on an edge-to-edge trackpad that dominates the lower half of the remote. Plus, Samsung is also throwing in a standard universal remote control in the box. And while the original QWERTY remote was all too often a hindrance – the Smart Touch Remote Control looks useful in its own right, while facilitating newer ways to control your television, like with voice control.
And, if for some reason you don’t like the new control, no worries – just download the Samsung SmartView app and use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi remote control for your new Samsung Smart TV. The app is currently only available on certain Android phones.
Face recognition is also a go on the ES8000. Users can tie a picture of their face taken by the camera on their television to their Samsung account, which can be used to sign into their account in lieu of entering their user name and password. After the initial setup, select apps and settings will be tied to their face, and logging in happens automatically via face recognition.
The ES8000 also happens to be the first TV to come with a built-in camera. This built-in camera not only powers its face recognition technology, but it also makes apps like Skype possible to use – right out of the box.
Once you’re signed in to the Smart Hub, you can check out new apps like Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Bravo. Samsung has managed to improve their Smart TVs’ stable of entertainment choices. With the app boom still in full swing, you can probably expect a lot more solid apps to come your way in the future if you’re a Smart TV owner, many of which will take advantage of the gesture, voice control and face recognition abilities.
Furthermore, Samsung’s new Signature Services add to the Smart Hub experience.
For example, Family Story allows you to upload family photos and videos onto the television via the cloud, so that families can watch photos together in real-time, even if they are in different places. The service will add voice chat in the future too.
Fitness helps aggregate workout videos, and can sync up with a number of Wi-Fi scales hitting the market now, such as the WiThings body scale, allowing you to track your weight on your Smart TV.
Kids offers family friendly media that kids can access, such as interactive e-books and videos, while giving parents monitoring privileges and control, so that they know exactly what their kids are watching.
As hot as all of the new tech is that the ES8000 offers, you might be concerned that sooner or later this tech will become outdated. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with the ES8000 – instead this is one TV that is guaranteed to be future-proof. Not only will Samsung keep offering software updates for their Smart Hub, but the hardware inside the ES8000 can also be upgraded! Evolution Kits will allow many of their TVs to be upgraded easily. These kits will allow users to add memory, and even upgrade the processor inside a Smart TV. Samsung says that these Evolution Kits will ship in 2013.
All in all, with an impressive slate of smart interaction choices, Samsung and especially their ES8000 LED TV model, has cemented its place in this year’s Smart TV competition. Plus, more so than ever before, users can actually take control of their TV.
This post is sponsored by Samsung. All opinions our 100% our own.