One more year, Samsung wants to maintain its leadership in the television market. The company is aware of the importance of smart functions in today's equipment, and for this reason it has once again taken special care to evolve some of its main characteristics. 2014 is the year of the World Cup, and it shows. Samsung's proposal is a specific football mode that uses an algorithm to gather clips with the best moments of the match. In addition, in the most powerful equipment of the brand we will enjoy a new game mode , with a more attractive and intuitive platform. And thegesture control such as voice control , a feature that has reached enviable maturity. All this with a new remote control that becomes the best companion to use these advanced functions. We tell you all the details about the Samsung Smart TV in 2014 in an in-depth analysis.
It may seem strange to start with the command, but the new Samsung device seems like a real leap forward. We are talking about the premium controller , which abandons a more square shape to show off a more stylized and curved body (probably as a nod to curved TVs). Although it is true that this shape is quite anatomical, the real change is found in its pointer. This remote uses Bluetooth to display a point of light on the screen. To move the pointer, simply perform simple hand movements. By using this technology, it is not even necessary that we are pointing at the television, so its use is comfortable. After a few minutes to get used to, using this remote really becomessimple and agile, and greatly speeds up navigation or text input.
Smart Hub and mini Smart Hub
Samsung's smart content platform , Smart Hub , maintains a design very similar to that of previous years, although we found some improvements and new panels that we will detail later. As in previous years, we have a very complete platform of apps that multiply the possibilities of using the television. Of course, just take a look at the most popular applications to reaffirm the weight that video applications have on this type of platform compared to other tools.
What is new is the mini Smart Hub. It is a lower strip that appears when we press the Smart Hub key in one of the television channels. This panel is an intermediate step that has several shortcuts to the most popular applications or to the content of our USB memory. Without a doubt, it is a way that saves intermediate steps if we want to access some of these most common features, although for some users it can be seen as an option that hinders access to the full panel.
Brazil 2014. Many of the TV manufacturers have wanted to pay special attention to this event, and Samsung is no exception. The company has introduced a specific mode for viewing football matches. Once activated (via a button on the controller), the saturation of the images is automatically increased to make them more vivid and the ambient sound of the game is enhanced. The idea is that we have an experience closer to the environment that is lived in a football stadium, although it seems to us that the image becomes too saturated and loses realism. The great novelty in this mode is the algorithm included in the television. This algorithm analyzes the images, the reaction of the audience and the commentators to select the most important scenes and create outstanding clips . Something like an automatic summary of the game that allows us to repeat the best moments. In our tests we have experienced different results each time. Another interesting function is to be able to mark a moment of the game and automatically record the ten seconds before and after, so that we can repeat a controversial play or a goal without waiting for the repetitions of the game. In order not to lose detail, the clips are displayed on a split screen by default while the game in real time is still shown on one side of the panel. Finally, we have a button to zoom on a specific area of the screen (the panel is divided into nine different areas).
Another novelty, which we only find available at the moment in the most advanced models of the brand, is the game mode . It is a dedicated panel for games. The paradox in this case is that it is a differentiated site from the titles that we find in Samsung Apps , but it will probably be unified in the next generations. This panel, with a very attractive design, allows us to enjoy a selection of titles that can be controlled both by the traditional remote, as the premium remote and even by the mobile itself . At the moment it only incorporates a very limited set of games, but it is expected that in the following months more names will arrive on this platform.
On TV and Trends
The On TV recommender is a platform that allows users to find relevant content on TV. This tool works both through our preferences and through the most popular programs . The panel that we liked the most is the one that shows the recommendations across time slots , so that for example we can search for the ten o'clock slot at night and find the most interesting programs (a kind of advanced guide). Through this platform it is also very easy to schedule the recording of content.
Within this panel is another of the great novelties in Samsung's Smart TV , an idea that could have an important journey in the coming years. It is about Trends , a platform that shows us the most commented programs and series through the social network Twitter. When we access each of the boxes we can see the proportion between men and women who comment on these issues and the most active age groups. We can also access a list with the latest tweets that have been shared regarding a certain program.
One of the areas in which Samsung smart TVs have made the most progress is in intelligent interaction through gestures and voice . In the first case, it is no longer necessary to move the entire arm, but it is enough to make movements with the fingers. Although it has undergone an important step, it seems to us that this function still has a long way to go to become a real alternative to other uses. One that does have a further road is the use of the voice to control the television. This function has a very high level of recognition,and we have worked so that the orders given by the user are very intuitive. In our tests of the company's curved TV, we were able to perform almost any function via voice without having to search for the necessary command.
Use of mobiles and tablets
The most interesting feature of Samsung Smart TVs to view the contents of a mobile or tablet is Screen Mirroring. This feature is an evolution of the Miracast technology , and allows you to see the screen of the mobile device on the television in real time. Of course, the use of Screen Mirroring is reduced to a handful of models of the Korean company, something that is annoying for users who have not opted for smartphones or tablets of the brand. We can also use a dedicated application called Samsung Smart View 2.0,to be able to use the mobile as a remote control or to transmit the contents of the TV to the tablet. However, this app has the same compatibility problem. Other more widespread technologies for sharing content are DLNA or the MHL connection .
Multi Link View
Samsung's most powerful smart TVs in 2014 incorporate a new feature that allows dividing the screen into several boxes (the most powerful models reach four different windows). The great novelty of this function is that the different applications interact with each other. For example, if we use this feature in the "El Hormiguero" program, on the right side, YouTube videos or web searches related to this function will be opened . There are numerous apps that can work in Multi Link View. Without a doubt, an important attraction to enhance the use of the television.
Samsung's Smart TV platform remains, in our opinion, the most powerful on the market. But the improvements this year leave a very different taste in the mouth depending on each one of them. The best news is the premium remote , which transforms and greatly facilitates the experience of using the television. Voice recognition has also reached an excellent level , which has incorporated more intuitive and simple commands. Of the aspects that we find interesting promises, but that have not yet reached sufficient maturity, we count the recognition by gestures or the games mode , while the football mode alternates lights and shadows. Be that as it may, Samsung's offermaintains a very complete level that explains why this manufacturer has managed to maintain a notable leadership position in the television market in recent years.