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Samsung expands smart TV content and functionality

Samsung's new range of smart TVs will have EPG, improved voice and gesture control and "a minimum of 90 per cent" of the world's sporting events.

Samsung has said that the content offering on its new smart TV is bigger than ever, with Philip Newton, VP of Consumer Products, saying that the sporting apps alone will provide users with "a minimum of 90 per cent of all global sporting activity".

Samsung's F8000 is the flagship for its "Smart TV" range. (Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Newton says that Samsung has also worked closely with its content partner Foxtel to provide limited PVR functionality for the Foxtel app, letting users "pause, fast forward and rewind, which is exclusive to Samsung".

Samsung is also in close talks with BBC to offer the iPlayer app as an exclusive as well, although CNET Australia was informed that this deal has not yet been finalised.

The smart TV interface will also have a dedicated page or "tile" for all subscription and pay-per-view services that the viewer uses, such as Quickflix. They will then be able to do a single search for content across all of these services. Newton explained:

For example, if you, say, search for Top Gun, it'll list all services that have Top Gun available, along with prices, and you'll be able to choose which one you want to whatch — letting you shop around, really.

Samsung has also created a single billing app for all pay-per-view services, simplifying the payment process for users.

The default tile for the "Smart Hub" interface will be an EPG, which will show all available free-to-air channels, with Foxtel programming arriving in August.

Natural voice control (on the 8 Series and above) and gesture control (for models with cameras) has also been enhanced, with gestures such as pinch, two hand gestures and even the "thumbs up" all being recognised.

On the voice side, Samsung worked with the Macquarie University linguistics department to ensure that the TV can handle over a million words and 25,000 sentences, including slang and colloquialisms. Australia is one of just five countries to get this feature.

"Because of the broad variety of accents in multicultural Australia, we ended up assisting some of the other countries with their own versions," said Newton.

The flagship model for the new "Smart TV" series is the F8000, which is available up to 75-inches in screen size. The TV has a quad-core processor, which should assist with the speed of the smart TV interface, as well as provide power for features such as Motion Judder Cancellation Pro, Digital Noise Reduction and Web Picture Quality Enhancer. As with all of Samsung's "Smart" range, it will have the Evolution Kit port built in.

We'll have a full review of the F8000 available soon.