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Samsung announces Smart TV upgrade kit

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 1:57pm
Brian Santo

Samsung Electronics America has introduced several features for its smart TV line designed to enrich the TV-viewing experience, including a redesigned navigation interface and a new recommendation engine.

Samsung also announced a module that plugs in to some of its most recent TVs, enabling viewers to upgrade their TVs, rather than buy brand new TVs to gain the new features.

The company redesigned its Smart Hub interface in an attempt to present viewers’ options in a manner based on the way people search for content through their mobile devices. Available only on some 2013 TVs, Blu-ray players and home theater systems, the redesigned Smart Hub organizes content on five different panels.

The On TV panel shows the channel that is currently playing as well as personalized suggestions that may be airing shortly based on consumer viewing habits. The Movies & TV Shows panel provides a view of movies and TV services and over-the-top content available from various content providers.

Viewers will access their personal content through a panel called Music, Photos & Clips. A fourth panel will provide access to user created content from friends and family, popular videos from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and video call services. The last panel is dedicated to Smart TV Apps, through which viewers can organize the Samsung Apps they’ve downloaded.

Samsung has also offering a recommendation engine called S-Recommendation. The company said it analyzes viewing habits over a period of six months to learn preferences so that it can recommend similar content. The recommendations are provided from a variety of sources, including broadcast television as well as streaming services, the company said.

Smart Interaction has also been upgraded with the ability to recognize natural language use (such as full phrases) as well as more casual hand movement (like swiping to change screens).

Some of the company’s 2012 and 2013 model TVs have what the company calls an Evolution slot – an interface for a plug-in module that contains upgrade electronics and software. Those slots have been unused thus far, but today Samsung announced its first Smart Evolution Kit.  

The kit – a plug-in module – includes a quad-core processor, GPU and memory for faster processing and multi-tasking, the updated Smart Hub and the latest picture display software.

The Smart Evolution Kit is packaged with the 2013 Smart Touch Remote, and will be available in May for $300.

The kit fits into the evolution slot on the back of 2012 Samsung 7500 and 8000 Series LED TVs, as well as Samsung Series 7000 and 8000 Plasma TVs, and updates them with some of the latest features and functions included in the newest Samsung models. 2013 F7500 LED and above and F8500 Plasma TVs also include a Smart Evolution slot.

“The TV industry is undergoing a sea change in both content and technology. Although consumers can now access a plethora of content from myriad sources, finding and choosing their favorite content has become even harder. Our 2013 Smart TVs make it easy for you to spend less time searching for shows and movies, and more time discovering and watching the content you love,” said Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics America. “Samsung has also created an evolutionary TV, so the TV that consumers buy today will transform into the TV of tomorrow. Thanks to the world’s first Smart Evolution Kit, consumers will have the latest features and they won’t be left behind.”

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