CES 2013: Samsung Debuts New Smart, 'Almost Human' TVs


Samsung Monday added to the Smart TV craze that's dominated this year's International Consumer Electronics Show, introducing a number of new designs to rival those already introduced by Panasonic and LG.

The South Korean tech giant took to the stage Monday in Las Vegas to debut its new S9 Ultra HD TV, a television that offers four times the resolution of a traditional HD display. The new S9 runs on a Samsung quad-core processor, which the company says lets users search the Web and browse applications faster than ever, and touts a 120-watt sound system built into its frame.

Samsung said the S9 comes in either an 85- or 110-inch design, the latter of which measures nearly 9 feet wide.

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Also introduced was Samsung's new LED F8000, a TV the company dubbed as the world's first world's LED set to feature a quad-core processor. The F8000 comes in five different models, ranging from 46- to a 75-inch display.

Pricing and availability details for Samsung's new S9 and LED F8000 were not revealed. But, both sets host a number of new "smart" features that Samsung said can actually "respond to people's needs and lifestyles." Among these new features is S-Recommendation, a tool that recommends certain television shows or movies to users based on their prior selections.

The S-Recommendation tool can even predict what users prefer to watch on TV based on the time of day, Samsung said. If, for example, a user typically watches the news in the morning, the new F8000 or S9 Ultra HD TV will suggest The Today Show, or other morning news programs. If users typically watch sports in the evening, S-Recommendation will highlight all available sporting events later in the afternoon.

Samsung's new line of Smart TVs also feature a revamped Samsung Smart Hub, a central management console from which users can search and manage their TV's content. The new Smart Hub lets users search for specific television shows without having to sift through the TV guide, see what shows are trending on Twitter and Facebook, and even peruse photos and other files that are hosted on their smartphones or tablets.

"We understand consumers, their lives and their aspirations. Through this understanding, we are able to read trends, anticipate them, and keep ahead of them to create entire new experiences," said Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung Electronics. "This year, our goal is to help people discover a world of possibilities. We aim to delight them, bringing them not just what they expect, but what they have never dreamed was possible."

A new feature called T-Commerce allows users to search for the manufacturers that design outfits worn by their favorite TV stars and then purchase those items directly from their Samsung TV. Voice and gesture recognition are also included in all new Samsung Smart TV models.

Samsung also said it's offering a Smart TV Evolution Kit, which will let users with prior-generation Samsung Smart TVs upgrade to the new Samsung Smart Hub without having to splurge for a new 2013 Smart TV model.

PUBLISHED JAN. 7, 2013