Samsung SEK-1000 (2013 Evolution Kit)

The Good The Samsung SEK-1000 Evolution Kit fully upgrades the Smart TV features of a high-end 2012 Samsung TV to 2013's loftier levels. Excellent touch-pad remote; relatively simply DIY installation; doesn't affect TV's shape or appearance.

The Bad Only works with a few high-end 2012 Samsung TVs; somewhat expensive; cable box control scheme still inadequate for heavy DVR users.

The Bottom Line While a cool idea and an innovative way to somewhat ward against Smart TV obsolescence, the 2013 Evolution Kit is definitely a niche product.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Value 6.0
7.4 Overall

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Samsung SEK-1000 Evolution Kit - digital multimedia receiver
Samsung SEK-1000 (2013 Evolution Kit)
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Price $122 Amazon.com ... $598 Amazon.com $449 Amazon.com $400 Amazon.com
Design
8
6
9
8
8
Features
9
6
9
10
8
Performance
8
6
... ... ...
Value
6
...
9
8
9

Review

A brain transplant for Smart TVs

Smart TV has a few problems. In addition to the fact that cheap little add-on boxes like the Roku and Apple TV often offer better functionality, there's the upgrade factor. People tend to own their televisions for 5 to 10 years or even more, and in that span of time a smart-TV interface can age worse than a smoker on a diet of Twinkies. After three years my "smart" set at home just seems dumb, with clunkier responses and way fewer options than my $60 Roku -- which is why I use the latter for almost all my streaming needs. Even the most cutting-edge 2013 system will likely seem just as long in the tooth five years from now.

The unique Evolution Kit from Samsung takes direct aim at this issue. Announced in 2012 as a panacea for obsolescence, the 2013 kit grafts onto a proprietary slot on the back of certain high-end Samsung 2012 TVs and turns them into 2013 models -- at least in terms of Smart TV features. It replaces the dual-core processor with a quad-core version and delivers an improved look and feel, better voice control, and a host of other tweaks (although better picture quality isn't one of them). The kit even includes a new remote control.

That seems like a great idea, but the SEK-1000 is still a niche product, appealing only to people who really want their 2012 TVs to be a bit better. Its $200 price tag is steep for a new interface and slightly better functionality, especially considering that the 2012 system is no slouch in terms of responsiveness and has basically the same major apps.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Samsung
  • Functions digital multimedia receiver
  • Functions Digital multimedia receiver
  • Additional Features AllShare, Smart View, face recognition, motion control, voice recognition
  • Media Content Source Network
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