Samsung’s new line-up of TVs is smart and shiny

Panasonic announced a bunch of new TVs and home theatre gear a week ago, and now it’s Samsung’s turn, with the company talking up features that provide more streaming content and offering free home installation on its premium Series 7 and 8 models.

The new product range announced this week in Sydney covers Slim LED, LED and plasma models, with a focus on apps that provide more streaming content at your fingertips. These apps will also be available on select Blu-ray players and home theatre systems.

“A great Smart TV requires compelling content, [and] compelling content drives consumption,” said Samsung Australia’s Phil Newton. “We now have over 28,000 companies worldwide developing apps for our platform.”

Samsung's top of the range ES8000, complete with the Smart TV dashboard.

These apps include Samsung’s Music Hub, the recently announced Quickflix, Channel Seven’s catch-up TV app “Plus7”, BigPond Movies, Wiggle Time TV for the kids, and from July, 30 Foxtel channels.

Samsung also debuts its Signature Service apps, some of which are designed to let you interact with the TV in new ways. One of these is “Fitness Hub,” a collection of video on-demand work-outs complemented by charts that let you manage your weight goals. Digital appliances can be used with the TV, including Withing’s WiFi scale, and there’s an Android smartphone app that lets you monitor your progress on compatible mobile devices

More technology will be on offer in many of the new TVs, including the ability to stream the TV channel playing on a Smart TV’s big-screen to a smartphone or tablet over a home network, so that you can watch the same show as you movie around the house. You can also stream content from a source connected to a Smart TV, such as a Samsung Blu-ray player or a hard drive, to a mobile devices, and have it perform as a second screen.  Samsung is yet to confirm products compatible with these functions, which is calls Clone View and Dual View, respectively.

Cloud support is also being thrown in, with 5GB of online storage provided with every Samsung TV purchased this year. Phones that support the storage can automatically upload pictures to be viewed on the TVs later on, and content stored in the cloud can be played on remote mobile devices – although, again, compatibility is yet to be confirmed.