The new Smart Hub layout, in the My Apps screen.
The new Smart Hub looks very similar to the grid-style layout of the apps on Apple's iOS, or the app draw on Google's Android smartphone operating system. It's no-nonsense: there's a long line of recommended apps up top, and a larger grid of all the apps you've already installed. Navigation seems faster and smoother than in previous years - likely an advantage of the new TVs' superior processing power.
The On TV screen of Smart Hub, which recommends you shows that S-Recommendation has picked out.
Most users generally use their TVs mostly for watching free-to-air digital TV, and Samsung is banking on this for its S-Recommendation feature. What S-Recommendation does is keep track of what you've watched, and of any content questions you might have asked, and pick out shows that it thinks you might be interested in. It learns your preferences each time you watch TV, so it'll get more refined with time. It can also be configured for individual users, tying in with face recognition where it's available. It'll work with your free-to-air digital TV from when Samsung's new TVs hit the shelves, and should support the in-built Foxtel app by the end of the year.
Samsung made the bold claim that its new TVs let Australian viewers access 90 per cent of the entire world's televised sport. A lot of that comes from the comprehensive coverage of ESPN3 on the included Foxtel app, which requires a subscription, and most of the other content is through a service called LiveSport TV. It'll cost you around $60 per month, but it's got a whole mess of sports included from hockey to rugby.
Samsung 2013 Smart TVs: Evolution
Samsung made a big song and dance about its premium 2012 TVs being compatible with a plug-in box that would upgrade their hardware and software - the Smart Evolution Kit. The first Smart Evolution Kit is here, now, and it does everything it promises to.
The mysterious Smart Evolution box, which plugs into a port at the back of 2012 Series 7 and 8 Samsung Smart TVs.
The price is significantly higher than Samsung said it would be - between $249 and $299, instead of around $129. This is to do with the hardware that's inside the Kit, like a quad-core processor, as well as the development costs that have gone into making the new Smart Hub interface and apps compatible with older televisions.
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