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Samsung Smart TVs made even smarter with finger gestures

Samsung's Smart TV sets have already upgraded living rooms around the world, but the tech giant has more up its sleeve. Set to be unwrapped at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the next-generation line-up of Smart TVs includes enhanced usability features, as well as an expanded voice interaction service and the new "finger gesture" interface.

Voice and gesture controls are not exactly novel additions to the smart TV category. In fact, they're much of what makes a TV smart. But in the two years since Samsung unveiled its line of brainy TVs at CES 2012, the company has tweaked its product to make it even more clever.

Most notably, the update allows a simple "finger gesture" (Samsung does not specify which figure or which gesture) to change the channel, adjust the volume, or find and select a programme. A counter clockwise finger motion will stop the current video and return you to the previous screen for "a more intuitive way to control the TV," as Samsung put it.

The company's voice interaction also got a boost. Currently available in 11 countries, the service will expand into an additional 12 markets next year, for a total of 23 countries worldwide. Plus, frequently used functions like channel surfing, opening apps, and searching for shows or movies will get a lot easier.

"Samsung's 2014 Smart TV models deliver significantly improved voice interaction and motion control features so that our consumers will be able to enjoy our Smart TV more intuitively," said Kyungshik Lee, senior vice president of the visual display business's service strategy team at Samsung. "We will continue to develop content that integrates voice and motion recognition for added convenience."

For example, if you want to check the score of the weekend's Manchester United versus Chelsea game, just ask the TV. A pop-up results window will appear at the bottom of the screen, which users can move or click for more details.

Those attending CES next month can stop by Samsung's booth for a glimpse of the Smart TV's new features, as well as the company's upcoming 105in Curved UHD TV. Sporting a 5,120 x 2,160 resolution screen with 21:9 aspect ratio, the massive television was announced last week just hours after LG confirmed its own 105in curved 4K (or Ultra HD) HDTV.

Keep an eye on ITProPortal next month for our coverage of CES 2014 and a closer look at these big screens.