Samsung's new TV remote has touch, motion, voice control

Samsung's flashy new TV remote has every control method imaginable baked in, from buttons to a touch pad to motion control and even voice recognition.

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Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Samsung's taken the wraps off its brand-new TV remote control, which'll be changing channels on its high-end 2014 TVs. It has every control method imaginable baked in, from buttons to a touch pad to motion control and even voice recognition.

The curvaceous controller, which the Korean company describes as a 'pebble-like oval', is a pretty radical departure from its previous rectangular remotes. The touchpad is 80 per cent smaller than last year's model, and is surrounded by direction buttons in case you can't get it to work.

Voice interaction is intended for search, to save you pecking around on an onscreen keyboard when you're just looking for something on YouTube. Motion gestures, on the other hand, are most convenient for swiping through menus.

It's all a bit of a hodgepodge, as usual with Samsung -- it throws everything in and lets you decide which way you prefer to use it. That can be confusing for first-timers, but has the benefit of being continually evolved and upgraded. Last year's TVs were much easier to control than 2012's, for example, although as our reviewer Niall noted, four ways of controlling your TV "is probably three ways too many".

"As more and more functions are added to TVs, the remote control is also evolving to accommodate the added functions," said KwangKi Park, Samsung's executive vice president of visual display sales and marketing. "We will continue to work so that our customers can use remote control more intuitively and easily."

Other features on the new remote include a 'Soccer Mode' button, which apparently flicks your TV over to a set of interface and screen modes custom-built to best show off the footie, and 'Multi-Link Screen' which is a fancy picture-in-picture mode.

The new controller will be on display with Samsung's new 110-inch Ultra HD TV at CES 2014, the garganutuan tech show that takes place next week in Las Vegas. CNET will be there with bells on -- you can check out all our previews at the show page here.

What do you make of Samsung's new hoofer-doofer? Would you use any of the motion or voice gubbins? Have your say down in the comments, or on our tightly controlled Facebook page.