When choosing a television, you don't just have to assess price and image quality. We should take more things into account ... For example, the design and, above all, its intelligence. We refer to the part known as SmartTV . That is, the features and facilities that the TV has installed to make it easier for us to access any type of content.
Movies, satellite channels, antenna or cable, access to equipment connected to TV, interactive applications, movie services or online series, video games ... The number of content we have today for television is almost infinite and the most advanced screens, include smart menus with a very clever remote. Today in the new TVs, everything is designed to help us enjoy the most from the sofa in the living room.
This is one of the key points that engineers from the South Korean firm Samsung have developed for their latest televisions. We have tested first-hand what the SmartTV looks like for your 2017 Samsung TVs, and then we tell you in detail.
The intelligence of televisions is already a much more elaborate concept than the possibility of connecting to the Internet. Either to be able to view content through online services (or on demand like Netflix and Amazon Video), or to consult your social networks, for example. Samsung has worked so that its televisions are able to manage and operate, from the same remote, any connected device. Or even change channels with your voice. Not to mention hitting the video games on your computer directly through the big screen in the living room. All this without neglecting compatibility, applications and games that are downloaded from the Internet, or a command that any user can handle. Something that allows anyone, of any age, to have full control of the most advanced televisions, and not get lost in a sea of buttons and functions.
It's the first thing we see when we turn on the latest Samsung smart TVs. A simple and elegant menu in which to move through all the sections, functions and sections to which all this intelligence and connectivity gives way. Here Samsung has maintained the formula compared to 2016. And it is not a bad thing. In fact, it is an efficient and very comfortable formula to always have at hand those content sources (connected devices), favorite channels or most used applications. All this in the form of a carousel at the bottom of the screen to move only left and right on what we want to see. Large and colorful icons that help to find, at a glance, everything we want to see.
But it is not a simple menu that arranges the user's favorite content in a colorful grid. It is also a menu that shows internal content of many of these services before even displaying it in full screen. For example, if we hover over the YouTube application, we find a portion of the screen that shows related videos from this platform . Meanwhile, the upper part of the TV continues to play the previously selected content. And the same goes for applications like Netflix, which show shortcuts to their hit series to jump to the content directly. All a convenience to not waste a second browsing menus.
And the best: it is customizable. We can't alter the colors, shapes, or sizes of this quick-access carousel to your favorite apps and fonts, but we can alter their order. Just click down on any of these contents and select if we want to delete or move its position . Something very useful to reach them even faster.
Applications, games and services
The intelligence of Samsung SmartTVs is ready to give rise to the use of the most popular on-demand Internet services. And it is that, despite running on Tizen's own operating system, and not with Android, it has agreements and applications of all kinds. Preinstalled way and find the most famous services: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video or Google Play Movies . But there are many more.
And we are only talking about tools to watch series and movies. But do not forget that, in the Apps section, Samsung smart TVs have a whole selection of applications and games for the TV . Issues such as social networks like Facebook and Twitter, tools to listen to the radio through the Internet, applications to keep up with the weather ”¦ even games. Yes, you can play through your Samsung SmartTV. And not only to own games for mobiles and tablets, available through the application store, but also to computer games and video consoles through different online services such as Gamefly Streaming.
The 2017 Samsung SmartTV application store has its own collections and specific sections. So you only have to navigate through a couple of menus to find all those tools that we need. Apps to play, radio and music, and a long etcetera more . A way of grouping them that allows you to search by necessity and avoid having to do it section by section. Quite a virtue for not having to write letter by letter in a simple search box. A much more comfortable way to complete our experience in front of the television. You just have to make sure you have a good Internet connection and memory inside the TV.
Another of the strengths of the intelligence of Samsung televisions is the auto-detection of devices. Question that also repeats compared to last year's system and that is a great addition. That is, we only have to connect a game console to an HDMI port of the connection box, One Connection, so that the TV recognizes it. Thus, when we jump to the Sources or Sources section, we will find the name of the game console, PlayStation 4 or Xbox ONE, for example , marked under its icon. As simple as that. It's almost magic.
It may seem trivial, but those who have an entire ecosystem of devices connected to their television in the living room, know how useful and necessary this function is. And, after a while, who remembers which device he connected to which port? Samsung smart TVs do this with most game consoles, blu-ray and DVD players, hard drives, and stereos on the market. You just have to connect them, turn them on and know which is which and to which port they are connected from the main menu of the television.
One point in favor is that, in cases where autodetection does not work, we can configure it manually ourselves. Thus, every connected device can be established so that we have no doubt what it is and what it does. Samsung SmartTV offers the possibility of giving a name to that device and representing it with an icon that helps this mission: PC, game console, player, decoder, home theater system ”¦ Of course, you can take any of these sources of content to the main interface menu . To the carousel of applications and sources that can be accessed directly from the home button.
One Remote, one remote to control them all
Closely related to the previous point is the control of these SmartTV televisions. And is that Samsung has exceeded. He has developed a remote control to rise to the occasion. It is beautiful, very elegant and very effective. Capable of carrying out any task, but with a very minimalist design. Only with 14 buttons . Much less than previous generations, which included buttons from 0 to 10 and endless buttons for specific functions. And what is better, with voice control, which we will talk about later.
The design of the One Remote, which is what Samsung calls it, is minimalist, straightforward and simple. So much so that it is accessible to anyone. Even for those who have trouble seeing the buttons. The crosshead allows you to move through all the menus and sections in a simple way. The rest of the buttons refer to some extra function: pause and play, open a contextual menu, go back ”¦ For the usual volume and channel change functions there are the two levers. Easily recognizable to the touch without looking , as they stand out from the design. Levers that also hide a button if pressed, allowing you to mute (mute) the TV or open the content guide. Really thought but simple.
One for all
But the most useful thing about this remote is that it is capable of controlling other connected devices. Yes, even the game console or the sound equipment. Just make a quick configuration of it as a universal remote. You select which device you want to control, choose brand and model, and test its effectiveness . The result is more than surprising and really agile.
In this way, you only have to use the crosshead and buttons on the One Remote to manage any interface available to the connected devices. Navigating through menus, selecting content, song lists or equalizing music no longer requires a remote for everything. All of this can be controlled from the SmartTV remote control . And ready. All this using the same buttons and with the minimalist design.
But what most democratizes the control of these Samsung SmartTVs is not a simple remote. It is the possibility of talking to him so that he reacts and does what is asked of him. Without moving through menus, without looking for the function and without even pressing more buttons. All this in a natural, simple and very direct way. Although it also has its flaws, of course.
At the top of the controller, in a privileged place and under the icon of a microphone, there is a button on One Remote. By simply pressing it and dictating a certain sequence of words out loud, it is practically possible to do everything on the television. "Change channel to 2", "increase volume to 7", "lower brightness to 5", "bluray player", "Your YouTube expert" , are some of the commands or examples that we can carry out. All this in perfect Spanish, although you have to vocalize well and try to be faithful to these commands, even if they are not entirely natural. This way we will avoid confusion, although we can also affirm that the television responds to simpler and more natural language.
The system is not perfect at the moment. It is possible that, if we do not speak correctly, the detection will not be completely faithful. It can also suffer failures such as not finding a channel. Items that Samsung will undoubtedly correct through updates. For the rest, it is a very robust system so that any user, whether they know about technology or not, take advantage of the virtues of the television without barriers.
Control from mobile
If for some "" strange and incomprehensible - reason you are not convinced by the use of the One Remote, or even lost, all is not finished. Samsung SmartTV televisions also allow control directly from a mobile with Android operating system . How? Very simple, through the Samsung Smart View application available in the Google Play Store. It's free.
Once both the mobile and the TV are connected to the same network, it only remains to open the application to link both devices . In this way we can move around the entire smart section of the TV: browse applications, access on-demand services or jump between different sources.
If we need the remote (itself), we can always extract the One Remote's own controls on the mobile screen. And thus control everything instantly from the screen. As if it were the royal command. And not only that. The application also hides a game console controller . So, thanks to mobile, it is possible to control games more comfortably and easily. And by the way, voice control functionality is included. All the advantages of the One Remote in the same device where you chat or consult your social networks.