By Patrick Avenell (follow me on Twitter)

SYDNEY, NSW: Samsung this morning set a very high bar in the brutal flat panel TV battle, launching a complete range of 3D, IPTV, LED/LCD and plasma units. At the top of this range, though available in some of the mid-range panels, is Samsung’s Smart TV hub, which combines content streaming, apps and an internet browser to provide the most comprehensive internet/television experience currently available.

An image gallery of the new products and features is here

At the launch today, Samsung group product manager of consumer electronics, Brad Wright, stressed that Samsung’s new IPTV initiatives are intended to be “lean back experiences”. He envisages users searching the web for content without the same intensity as one might use a PC.

With integrated content from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — and picture in picture — viewers can incorporate their casual internet usage into their TV watching schedule. This provides a new layer of involvement (Samsung’s adjective is ‘immersive’), with viewers able to Tweet, for example, about Q&A or a football match, whilst watching the match on the same panel without vision switching.

Also integrated into Samsung’s Smart Hub is significant Telstra BigPond content. Available unmetered for BigPond subscribers, this content includes the ability to rent streamed content at variable broadcast quality depending on the internet connection.

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For example, whilst a user’s connection is fast, the quality of the vision will be at its highest. When connection slows, instead of the content pausing to buffer, the program will continue, though at a lower definition. Users can also fast forward through content, with the vision automatically reducing to simple JPEGs until playback is resumed.

Also provided by Telstra is NRL Game Analyser. This application allows football fans to watch full replays of NRL games at their convenience. More impressively, however, is that the vision is bookmarked with tags such as ‘Tries’, ‘Big Hits’, ‘Foul Play’ and ‘Video Ref’, meaning timepoor fans can review the key moments of the match immediately and automatically. Telstra director of IPTV and Pay TV, Ben Kinealy, said this Analyser program would soon incorporate AFL matches as well.

Control of the Smart Hub is best realised with a dedicated remote control that has the normal TV functions on the obverse and a full QWERTY keyboard on the reverse (RRP $149). Other accessories include a Skype camera for RRP $199 and a wireless router for RRP $249.

These Smart TV features are present on 22 of Samsung’s 41 new models. This 41 is broken down into 25 LED LCD models, 10 plasma models and 6 LCD models. Twenty-Four of these 41 TVs are Full HD 3D.

Here is an RRP list for selected Samsung’s Smart TV panels:


Series 8, 55-inch: $4,699
Series 8, 60-inch: TBA
Series 7, 46-inch: $3,199
Series 7, 55-inch: $4,099
Series 7, 60-inch: TBA
Series 6, 40-inch: $2,099
Series 6, 46-inch: $2,699
Series 6, 55-inch: $3,499
Series 6, 60-inch: TBA


Series 8, 51-inch: $2,599
Series 8, 59-inch: $3,499
Series 8, 64-inch: $4,299 will be looking at Samsung’s new TV range in depth over the coming days. Keep checking in to find out more.