CNET First Look
Samsung's 2016 smart TVs control your gear, from cable box to thermostatSamsung wants you to start thinking of your smart TV as more than just another way to stream Netflix, so its newest TVs aim to take control of your other home entertainment gear, and even your smart home.
Nobody cares about the smart functions on their TV, mainly because external devices like Roku and Apple TV are much better. But Samsung has added two new features to it's latest batch 2016 models that do stuff no Roku or Apple TV can. And unlike most Smart TV options, these capabilities are actually pretty compelling. The first is easier control of external devices like cable boxes, game consoles, and streamers. Plug the device into one of the tv's hdmi inputs and it will automatically set up the tv's remote to operate the device. He will let access to program guide, dvr, menus and other functions using Samsung's tv remote. The coolest part is it all as easy as plug and play. No device codes or model numbers to track down. Just plug in the device and the tv does the rest Samsung says it has 90% of the cable box covered now. With DirectTV coming in June and support for 100s of other devices including Roku and Apple TV available right now. I can't wait to test the feature myself, if it works it might finally be able to replace universal remote. The second big feature revolves around smart things. Which is one of favorite smart home eco systems and is now owned by Samsung. Mid range and high end Samsung sets for 2016 will be able to act exactly like a smart thing\g hub. That means, we'll be able to control lights, security cameras, thermostats, and more right from the TV screen. You can even set up so called routines. For example, a motion detector that turns on the lights, opens the blinds, and turns the TV on to your favorite channel. Buyers of the new TVs will get a coupon in the box that entitles them to get a free Smart Things extend dongle that plugs into the back of the TV. It's gonna be available in June. That's a quick look at two of the most exciting features of Samsung's 2016 smart TVs. Both will be available in seven, eight, and nine series models. Stay tuned for the full reviews. I'm David Katzmaier for CNET.