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Christmas Gift Guide

Samsung's flagship LCD and plasma

Samsung's 60-inch E8000 plasma

Profile

Remote control

Shortcuts

Shortcuts II

History

QWERTY keyboard

Touch pad

Thumb button

Smart Interaction

Voice control

Voice and gesture commands

Gestures

3D glasses

3D glasses, continued

Remote

Samsung evolution kit

Samsung has unveiled its redesigned Smart TV platform, which, on the flagship PNE8000 plasma and UNES8000 and UNES7500 LCDs, includes the new Smart Interaction voice/gesture control system.

The physical design of the ES8000 TV has also received an upgrade with the introduction of a U-shaped stand. Note also the small bump at the top of the bezel, you'll need that later.

The Smart Hub interactive TV interface, available on numerous models, has had a small tweak from last year with a less cluttered look, though the prominent tiles in the middle--including the new Family Story social app--probably won't get as much use as the smaller Netflix tile. The only area of the screen you can customize, to leap to oft-used apps for example, is the bottom section. This year you can move or change any of the shortcuts therein.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The E8000 plasma now features an all-black design with a black quadropus stand. The bezel is thicker on the plasma than the LCD but that allowed the designers to seamlessly integrate a camera and microphone.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The E8000 is still relatively slim for a plasma.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The flagship remote features a touch pad and built-in mic for voice control.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Instead of featuring dedicated playback buttons, the touch pad features a four-color icon that brings up an onscreen display.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Pressing the four-color icon brings up regularly used functions such as Play and Red Green Yellow Blue.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
There's a convenient a History function that remembers your last 10 over-the-air channels and apps.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Last year, Samsung's premium TVs featured a flippable QWERTY remote, but this has been nixed for 2012. Instead, Samsung will sell a full-size keyboard with integrated touch pad, similar to the Logitech Revue keyboard (price TBD, but we're expecting about $99).
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The touch pad works the same as the one on the remote.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Last year's TVs were great, but the controls were hard to use. Now, instead of a series of seemingly arbitrary buttons, the new TVs feature a four-way thumbpad, which also functions as a power button.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
On the ES8000 this little hump houses microphone(s) and a video camera, which are used for voice and gesture commands, aka Smart Interaction.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Say "Hi, TV," and a series of contextual voice commands appear. During our demonstration with a preproduction unit, it sometimes failed to recognize commands--even in a silent room.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Want to know which controls work with gestures and/or voice? Here's Samsung's full list. Note that "May" indicates the time frame, not the likelihood.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Selecting an item in gesture control mode involves "grabbing" it as opposed to the Xbox Kinect's "hover" method.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Samsung includes at least two pairs of 3D glasses with every 3D TV this year, and high-end models will get four. Update Samsung will offer additional pairs for the low price of $19 each.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The glasses do work with your existing glasses, though.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Samsung's vanilla remote now features a Smart Hub icon.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
The evolution kit is Samsung's attempt to introduce upgradability to its high-end Smart TVs. If your 2013 app requires a quad-core CPU, for example, you can upgrade your TV's hardware (and software) for an as-yet-unknown price.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
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