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Samsung 2013 Smart TV platform: The Multimedia and Social Home Screens

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - Photos, Videos & Music

Moving right from the potential-packed but ultimately flawed Movies & TV Shows menu gets you to Photos, Videos & Music. This aggregates your personal photo, music and video collections from any connected sources available – including any computers equipped with Samsung’s AllShare software; SugarSync; Dropbox; SkyDrive; USB devices; and PTP picture storage devices like mobile phones or cameras.

The main portion of the screen is taken up with eight large icons showing stuff you’ve played most recently, while links along the bottom allow you to access your photos individually; your movies individually; your music individually; your recorded TV content individually; or all your content together in one big list.

Samsung Smart TV interface

This part of Samsung’s home page system is pretty self-explanatory – and useful – versus the other two sections. Something which can’t be said of the Social page you get to if you scroll to the right again.

Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - Social Screen

The Social header kicks off with a big ‘Friend’s Picks’ box which, research uncovers, shows any videos that might have been shared by your Facebook and Twitter friends. This box failed to work for us during our tests, alas, so we weren’t fully able to get to grips with its potential. But from seeing photographs of how it generates content, we’re not entirely convinced that it’s the sort of content people really want to see highlighted right away on their social page.

After all, videos are just a small part of the social media experience, so it seemed to us that it would be much better just to have straight Twitter and/or Facebook timelines coming up right away when you enter the Social home page.

Again, the content aggregation system Samsung is employing with this Friend’s Picks approach is very clever on a technical level. But as with the Movies & TV Shows aggregation menu, it’s maybe a bit too clever for its own good, leaving you once more feeling like you’re being told what you should be looking at rather than just being allowed to get straight to what you actually want to see.

Samsung Smart TV interface

A smaller window on the Social home page is a Recent Calls box for Skype, which really is a genuinely useful shortcut to using the camera built into the F8000 models for video calling friends and family.

Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform - YouTube App

Further links along the bottom provide access to What’s Hot (essentially a list of the 50 most ‘trending’ videos on Youtube), a separate Video Call directory listing all your Skype contacts; and a Friend’s page that presents the icons and names of all the people you follow on Facebook and Twitter. This again sounds clever in principal, but in reality it feels rather cumbersome. After all, you only get 14 friend icons on the screen at once, yet many people follow hundreds, even thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook.

In short, the more we used – or tried to use – the Social menu, the more we felt that we really just wanted to have simple jump-off icons to the standard Twitter and Facebook apps, and their usual way of presenting things.

This seems a sensible point to wrap up part one of our exhaustive look at Samsung's new Smart TV interface. Check out Part 2 tomorrow for a look at Samsung's latest approach to on-TV apps, its latest alternative control systems, and finally its new support for second Android/iOS functionality.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9


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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