The telly of the future speaks 26 languages.
Welcome to the future. It's the year 2310 and your television is way cleverer than you could ever hope to be. For a start, your telly understands 26 languages, including English and Arabic and recognises your face and voice.
What am I on about? Yesterday's launch of the new Samsung Smart TV. I won't lie, if this new telly from Samsung does everything they say it does, then colour me impressed. What do the Samsung brainiacs say it will do? For a start, it has voice, motion and face recognition.
In theory, that means the demise of the remote control. Instead of having your coffee table lined with 12 different remotes and you spending half your life trying to find the right one for whichever gadget you're trying to use, you just say, 'Hi TV, power on,' or 'Channel 27'. Alternatively, you can wave your hands about in certain motions to do things like scroll, click, and so on.
It also means that, just by standing in front of your internet-enabled telly, it will recognise your face and log you straight into your various social networks like Skype and Facebook. This is the first telly in the world to have a built-in HD camera and microphone so you can Skype friends abroad or web surf without getting off your sofa.
Sounds amazing doesn't it? And Samsung went to a great deal of effort at yesterday's official launch in Dubai Mall to get across the message that this new technology really is ground-breaking.
The gathered members of the press watched a 'Star Trek' like video of Captain Gaston and an attractive female member of his spaceship crew. They were both dressed in body-hugging black rubbery material. Anyway, Captain Gaston and his crew travelled by warp speed to the year 2310 then, using some kind of teleport device, he basically materialised in the living room of unsuspecting TV users of the future who were watching their tellies. He said, 'Greetings from the past-' and then proceeded to ask them to hand over bits of their telly's technology to take back to the year 2012. And they all did, no questions asked. None of these future people seem perturbed by the rubber-clad spaceman from the past just popping into their front rooms in the midst of the 2310 version of 'Coronation Street' or 'The Klepton Galaxy has Talent'. Perhaps they thought they were being robbed so just handed the goods over in fear of their lives? Who knows. Anyway, thanks to Captain Gaston's intergalactic time-travelling exploits, you can now enjoy the new Samsung Smart TV.
The entertainment didn't end there. To launch this new version of the Smart TV, Samsung hired seven dancing girls dressed in futuristic silver suits and knee-high stiletto boots who did a sexy dance in the middle of Dubai Mall's fashion catwalk to a cover of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. They were very good. I enjoyed the dancers; I'm just not sure how they demonstrated the new features of the Samsung Smart TV. At the end of the dance, the girls all got in a line and each held up a letter to spell 'Smart TV' but one of the girls had dropped her sign during the sexy dance so it spelt 'mart TV'. Bless her, I think she tried to make an S shape with her body.
When the presentation was over, we all got the chance to try out the new telly with the help of a harem of silver-clad hostesses. I asked one of these young women - who turned out to be from Croatia and not the planet Venus - to please show me the mechanics of the hand waving to see how the motion recognition worked. She had to wave her hand around for a good five minutes before the TV 'saw' it and even then the connection seemed to come and go. I can imagine that homes of the future might pine for the days of the remote control if people are going to have to spend ages waving at their tellies to get them to do anything.
The other thing I haven't got to the bottom of yet is, what happens if you have lots of people talking in your lounge? Or, what if you and your spouse have a big fight? Will the telly just keep changing channels or switching off every time you yell words like 'up' and 'off' which may or may not be part of an abusive sentence directed at your beloved?
And what about motion recognition? Could the cat inadvertently change the channel by jumping onto your lap? So at a heart-stopping moment of a horror movie you're suddenly faced with Spongebob Squarepants?
I'm sure the clever people at Samsung have thought of all this but I'm wondering if, again, the more solutions and new technology we develop in turn mushrooms a host of new challenges to solve.
Ready to pop to the shops? Samsung's new 2012 SMART TV line-up is now available in all major electronics stores across the UAE and prices start from AED 6,599 up to AED12,999. The latest sets come in 46-inch and 55-inch models and offer 2D and 3D viewing, a built-in Flash Player 10.2, a 5mm bezel, Micro Dimming Ultimate and a dual-core processor that lets users multitask by surfing the web while using or downloading multiple apps simultaneously.
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