Meet the 2013 model of Samsung SmartTV

12. April 2013

The 2013 Samsung SmartTV series has only been on sale in the Czech Republic for a few days, even though the second quarter of the year is well underway.

Do you want to know whether the new models have been improved in terms of HW performance, or whether it is all just the manufacturer’s marketing activity; how the new environment is new and better; how to download a developer app and test it? Keep reading to find out more.

We test all apps on several devices – more or less sophisticated. However, particular attention is paid to the testing on “slower” devices. Therefore, our first model of the year 2013 is “UE32F5300”. As the 5xxx series identifier suggests, it is the basic Smart TV model. The initial default settings are similar to those of last year’s models. Once the initial attributes have been set (or the available channels tuned) we can have a look at the SmartHub environment. Thanks to a dual-core processor, it starts much faster than its predecessor. The user interface of Smart Hub offers several new tabs. There are more ways to move between tabs: using left/right arrows, by clicking on an icon in the upper part of the screen or with FF and RW keys.

Tab changing is accompanied by an interesting and smooth 3D animation transition. There are numerous minor animations of this sort in the new Smart Hub. The menu itself has not changed much, compared to older models. New Samsung models are particularly friendly when it comes to social networking. You can have easy access to the most recent posts and updates from Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, or you can log in to your Skype account. More advanced models allow you to log in based on face recognition – a very useful feature if the product is shared by more users. We haven’t tested this method of logging in yet, which is why we don’t know whether it is practical or not. Visit Mautilus Facebook page for more photos of the user interface.

Developer application downloading

What did change for the Samsung Smart TV 2013 models, however, is the downloading of apps via the web server. The login procedure (not just to developer account) is as follows: Menu -> Funkce Smart -> Účet (Account) Samsung -> Přihl. (Log in). When a brand new screen appears, e-mail (“develop”) and password (“sso1029dev!”) must be entered. Apps can be downloaded from the web server in much the same way as in the case of previous models (since 2010). The web server IP address setting has changed as well. It can be accessed as follows: in Smart Hub main menu -> Další aplikace (Other apps) -> Možnosti (Options) in the upper right corner -> IP Setting -> Start App Sync.

We are happy to see that the 1007 firmware version does not bother Smart TV developers and testers with pop-up windows with terms and conditions, as it was generally perceived (by developers and testers alike) as annoying on 2012 models. However, this dialog has not disappeared altogether. It only appears once when the TV is turned on and the user logs in under a developer account. Once the synchronisation has been completed, the downloaded app can be launched. SmartHub developers did not assign the USER attribute to apps this time, which is why one cannot tell that an app has been downloaded from a local web server.

So far Samsung has not worried about localisation or text alignment in dialogs – but that is an irrelevant detail. The 2012 SmartTV models offered comfortable downloading of apps via USB (aside from installation from the web server). The newest models do not offer this feature – we haven’t tried to find out yet whether any further settings (or a completely different approach) are necessary. Now, we can go ahead and test all of our apps on the new 2013 models of Samsung SmartTV. And you can look forward to more articles about Smart TV and Smart TV development on our blog.

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