When it comes to entertainment, it's no secret that the Internet is evolving into a substitute for traditional television. With services like Hulu and Netflix, users no longer have to flip through channels to find the programs they want to watch.
Samsung is jumping on this trend with its new line of Smart TVs, which combine traditional TV with Web-savvy practices.
"Today we will see a giant step forward," Samsung's head of visual display, H.S. Shin, said at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday. "It's not just about new features; it's about changing the entire viewing experience."
The South Korea-based electronics manufacturer unveiled its new Smart TV, the LED F8000, just ahead of CES 2013 at an exclusive media event. The new Ultra HD flatscreen boasts features such as S Recommendations, which makes suggestions based on the user's viewing history. It's also compatible with voice command, creating a hands-free experience.
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For example, if a user asks "Is there something good to watch" or "Show me something I would like," S Recommendations responds with programs catered to the viewer's taste.
These Smart TVs will also incorporate heavy social media integration, which means that shows endorsed by friends will also appear in a user's recommendations.
It's clear that Samsung is trying to simulate a home theater experience with its new line of Ultra HD Smart TVs; the F8000 will come in a stunning array of sizes. Customers have the option of purchasing it in 60-inches, 75-inches, 85-inches or 95-inches. According to Joe Stinziano, Samsung Electronics America senior vice president, this will be the largest commercially available television.
"TV technology is moving very fast on a daily basis," Shin said. "People are never satisfied with the size of the TV they have. They're always looking for bigger screens."
Stinziano also boasted that the new F8000 features "incredible sound," with 120 watts of sound built into its frame. In addition to this new social-intuitive television its, Samsung also unveiled its Smart Evolution Kit. This is a boxtop set that comes with a remote control and the new Smart Hub user interface and processor.
This Smart Evolution Kit will be compatible with all new Samsung Smart TVs that will be introduced in 2013 and certain 2012 models. It allows Smart TVs to run apps, stream video on demand, and store personal files among other tasks.
With this Smart Evolution Kit, which Stinziano has called a "brain transplant" for televisions, viewers can enjoy entertainment applications such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, and others natively. Users can freely transport this box top kit from TV to TV in order to use its features.
No pricing or release date information has been unveiled at this time.
These revelations from Samsung illustrate the vanishing gap between computers and televisions. Smart TVs essentially act as an entertainment computer, and Samsung's new social focused Ultra HDTV and Smart Evolution Kit only drive that notion further.
Smart TVs such as the F8000 could give video game consoles stiff competition, considering gaming systems may not be the universal device when it comes to running these video apps on television.