Other things to consider
One rather impressive advantage Samsung’s Smart TV system has over any current rival is its upgradability. If you buy one of the brand’s higher end TVs you’ll be able to upgrade it either by swapping out its external connections box (if it’s one of Samsung’s UHD models) or by adding a slot-in Evolution Kit that will enable this year’s TVs to get the ‘brains’ of Samsung’s 2015 (and potentially beyond) models.
In fact, if you have one of last year’s F7000, F8000 or F9000 Samsung TVs, you can upgrade your set with the vast majority of the smart features discussed here by adding one of the upcoming 2014 Evolution kits or new One Connect boxes.
Should I buy a 2014 Samsung Smart TV system?
Samsung’s latest Smart TV system is still the most sophisticated we’ve tested to date, and when it comes to content quantity it’s also, for now at least, ahead of the pack. However, this 2014 iteration is more of an evolution than a revolution, feels like it’s a work in progress in some areas, and can still feel a bit inscrutable – especially in the first few hours of use.
This would be fine if everyone else was standing still, but they’re not. Sony 2014 Smart TV system is a big improvement on its previous efforts, LG has a new and exciting system based on the Web OS operating system (See: LG WebOS TV) and Panasonic has an interesting tie-in with the Freesat Freetime system that means some of its TVs will enjoy a YouView-style catch-up EPG. And, of course, there’s still the likes of Apple TV, Roku and other add-on boxes to consider.
If you care about the smart TV side of things, then, it’s probably worth waiting just a small while to see how these rivals shape-up when we review them in the coming weeks.
There remains much to admire with Samsung’s latest Smart TV engine – especially its presentation, running speed and recommendations system. But it only delivers a relatively small step forward from last year’s engine, potentially exposing it to the exciting-looking new Smart TV systems on their way from LG and Panasonic.