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Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - Part 1 review

John Archer



Our Score



  • Recommendation system is very clever
  • Graphics throughout are gorgeous
  • Scope of the control and search options is remarkable


  • Streaming menu doesn't cover all content platforms
  • Second screen support is over-complicated
  • Voice and gesture control still prone to error

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: Multiple home screens; It can learn your viewing habits; Gesture and voice control support; Extensive second screen support; Lots of video streaming options

Manufacturer: Samsung


During our review of Samsung’s spectacular new UE55F8000 TV a few days back, we mentioned that Samsung’s latest Smart TV multimedia/online platform was so sophisticated that we couldn’t possibly cover it properly within the boundaries of a normal TV review. So here is our more in-depth look at Samsung’s radically revamped Smart solution.

The most significant change from last year’s Samsung multimedia TV interface is the way the new one introduces five separate ‘home screens’. If you read our review of the excellent 2013 Panasonic My Home Screen interface, this idea of multiple home screens will already be familiar. Samsung’s approach even follows roughly similar themes for each home screen to those chosen by Panasonic. But there are also plenty of significant differences between the two rival platforms.

Samsung Smart TV interface

Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - On TV Screen

When you first switch your new Samsung Smart TV on, the default homescreen is ‘On TV’. This features a reduced version of the live picture from the AV input, or the broadcast you were watching when you last turned the TV off; a selection of six recommended ‘currently showing’ broadcast programmes to the right of the live picture; and a row of six ‘coming up’ programmes running along the screen’s bottom.

All these quick TV links are presented with full photo-quality icons of the shows in question.

The really clever bit about this page, though, is that the programmes on show are those the TV thinks you’re likely to be interested in, based on a record of your viewing habits. Yes, that’s right: Samsung has gone all TiVo on us, using the programme data digital broadcasters send with every show to build up a viewing profile of your favourite genres, actors etc.

Obviously the effectiveness of this system will increase over time, as the set is able to record a more detailed record of your preferences. But even after a few days of use while doing this test it had started to get at least a feel for what sort of stuff we were watching via the built-in Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners.

Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - Personalisation

What’s more, since Samsung’s Smart TVs can set up separate accounts for and even automatically respond to the presence of different individual users, the ‘recommendations’ feature can be personalised to the extent that the TV will track different viewing patterns for different logged in users separately.

Samsung Smart TV interface

For all its attractiveness there is something a little confusing about the layout of this home page though. The main reason for this, we think, is that it focusses too much on recommendations, when perhaps allowing space for an EPG programme list down the side might have been helpful. Strangely, by limiting the options available to just 12 recommended ones, you actually feel a little as if the TV is trying to dictate to you what to watch, rather than trying to make your life easier.

To put it another way, unless you happen to want to watch one of the recommended programmes (which in the early days of getting the TV you most likely won’t), the On TV page can sometimes feel more like a barrier to search than an aid.

Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - Other TV Search Aids

At least the On TV screen provides links to three more screens along the bottom that turn out to be extremely useful. The Guide one (which is only available if you’re watching one of the tuners) calls up an attractive full electronic programme guide. The Timeline calls up a gorgeously graphics rich list of what’s showing on your five favourite channels at each hour ahead from the current time. (Though again, it seems a shame you can’t also scroll down on this screen to see all the other channels too.) A final link takes you to the library of recorded TV shows you’ve got stored on a USB HDD or memory stick.

The bottom line is that all the information you want can be accessed from the On TV menu sector, but we don’t entirely agree with Samsung’s decision to put Recommended services on the first screen. Personally a more fulsome listings-style page to kick off with would have suited us more, with a Recommended link appearing below.

Next page


March 15, 2013, 2:45 pm

Would've been better if you could input who you subscript to for content, put in your account details and the tv only pulls the suggestions from those places. Simple.

But I'm sure Samsung are paid to by certain content providers it uses, with the idea that they could get more people subscribing due to what the recommendations the TV throws out to the user.


March 16, 2013, 1:32 pm

I can't get excited about many of these smart TV features whilst they are not integrated with Sky. That isn't as much the the TV manufacturer's fault as it is BSkyB's.
But whilst 99% of my TV viewing is via my Sky Box, I may as well have a dumb panel rather than a smart TV.


March 23, 2013, 3:04 pm

Everything you provided on this Samsung was perfect. With so
many different TVs on the market, sometimes it’s tough to feel like you’ve done
enough research. I’d been reading nothing but good reviews on this Sammy, so
when I got a DISH Hopper, I knew it
was time to make my choice. The Hopper gives me full HD to four TVs, and I only
had three. Your site and the recommendations of a few coworkers from my job at DISH helped me pick up the
perfect TV, and I just wanted to swing by and thank you for that. Best of all
with all four TVs running with the Hopper, no one has problems with DVR timer
conflicts anymore!


May 15, 2013, 3:20 pm

Much like "lw"all my content comes from a Samsung Freesat HD PVR and Samsung 3D BluRay player so I only use the screen as an HD monitor. The main reason is that still theres in no DTS or 5.1 audio fed back from the TV optical audio output to drive my Surround Sound AV amp. I would rather Samsung sorted that obvious omission out otherwise all the "SMART" apps in the world are no use to me.

Michael Lim

June 25, 2013, 6:54 am

I was so disappointed with it. Bought two units then realized how complicated it is and it cannot even connect to non samsung devices. Support is so bad i spend 15 mins waiting over the phone for phone support. I am returning both units to them!


September 25, 2013, 4:02 am

Although the picture is good, I have Direct TV and use their remote to control the TV (it could be any control for that matter) and when the smart screen comes up, you have to switch to TV mode to choose the channel, then back to receiver mode to change between channels or do anything else. Is there a solution for that?


November 10, 2013, 6:48 am

i cant workout how to play the free movies on this app. is so annoying


November 10, 2013, 6:50 am

by the way there is no "Watch Now" that comes up on my tv for some reason

Jason Clark

November 12, 2013, 11:11 pm

My parents in their 60's have just got this tv.....how do they use the built in 'Freeview HD' tuner???


December 30, 2013, 3:39 pm

the tv is just hella annoying won't connect to my macbook it won't do it for my iPad either. only iPhone. i might as well have bought a cheap tv...


January 22, 2014, 11:14 pm

I have had bad experience with this smart TV purchased this in the month of November 2013 the picture was deteriorated and colours were fading away. I spoke to Samsung technical support who tried to trouble shoot the problem. Due to the over lapse and care support they failed. Assigned to service agent whom came out first time. Didnt diagnose the fault.
Report says no faults found. Later on I get a email stating that the TV requires a PCB board.
I am not competed of the engineer and ask Samsung to assign the job to another engineer.
All week I have contacted Samsung you can see how frustrating this is on me and my family.

***Don't buy this TV my recommendations to anyone whom is looking to buy I don't give bad reviews however I have encountered this.

Please feel free to email me


January 23, 2014, 11:42 am

I have a 46" Samsung smart TV and it keeps blinking (meaning screen goes
black for a second then picture returns) HDMI 1920x1080/60i. I changed
the range on the digital cable box and still blinks but with different
ranges. I returned the TV bought at Costco, and got another 46" smart,
same problem. I believe this has been happening to all the smart TV's
and Samsung has not addressed the issue. Yes and Samsung support sucks... Going to return and get a


March 31, 2014, 10:10 am

something seems to have happened to my on tv.
I have the larger screen which shows the correct channel but the 12 small pictures are empty, this has always worked before? anyone know whats happened, I use C!+ module


April 21, 2014, 10:44 pm

It's only as complicated as you make it; mine supports every non-Samsung device well. You apparently did something incorrectly.


September 29, 2014, 11:44 am

I kind of lack the whole "Apps" part, which has been most useful for me.
Started Spotify + some romantic music and used the F6320's "Picture Off" setting -> fantastic combination.
Would like to see the Netflix app reviewed too.

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