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Samsung's New TV Hardware May Dazzle, But Just How Smart Do You Want The Software To Be?

That's a mighty fine looking tellybox you got there, Mr. Samsung. But what does it actually do?

Not content with trying to boss the rest of the smartphone manufacturers (bar Apple) about, Samsung is now turning its attention to the TV market. With smart telly the buzzword du jour, with even Tim Cook calling it "an area of intense interest" and our own Kit Eaton expecting Apple to launch its own version in the first part of 2013, it's logical that Cupertino's bete noire would use CES to launch its aspirations in this arena. And launch some stuff it did. But then again, so did all the other tech firms, offering everything from personalized content (thanks to Panasonic's in-set camera) to Sharp's "8K" TV and split-screen display allowing you to watch TV and use the Internet at the same time.

But back to Samsung. Alongside a 85-inch 4K TV that lets viewers see everything in ultra-high-def (with a 105-inch monster due later on in 2013), it also showed off its revamped user interface. Smart Hub is an all-singing, all-dancing idea, with voice- and gesture-based control. It uses facial recognition tech to separate the Gleeheads in your house from the Charlie Rose fans. The Verge reports owners of 2012 Samsung TV models can upgrade with what Samsung calls an "evolution kit," but doesn't exactly bless it with a positive review. But what we at Fast Company want to know is this: Just how smart do you want your TV to be? Is facial recognition at the top of your list, or do you just want a great picture? All the rest is available on your second screen.