Enjoy a Smart Christmas with Samsung TV
A new generation of Smart TVs is transforming our living rooms into multimedia entertainment hubs.
The living room has long been the hub of family life, with the TV the planet around which it orbits.
This is never truer than at Christmas, when relatives you hardly know, and some you know only too well, plonk themselves down on your sofa in the name of goodwill. As your home descends into the chaos of overdone turkey and drunken uncles you can at least count on the TV keeping everyone happy with festive classics like Back to the Future and Morecambe & Wise.
But technology is ever-changing and a new generation of smart TVs is transforming our living rooms into multimedia entertainment hubs a million miles from those sepia shots of 1950s families squinting into tiny, flickering black and white screens.
With the growth of on-demand viewing and social networking we now want more from our TVs than Ceefax and a smile. Enter the Samsung UE55ES8000, a smart TV straight from the festive instalment of Back to the Future II.
With three new ways to interact with your TV the Samsung gives you a head-start in the row over what's going on the box this Christmas. By merely talking to it you can relinquish control over what's on from the uncle who just won't let go of the remote. You don't have to talk like a robot to change channel either; the TV's voice control technology recognises complex and random words.
There's also the option of controlling the set via hand movements - great if your Christmas morning head is too fragile to deal with raised voices or if you just fancy busting out the robot.
Rows over what to watch are part and parcel of a family Christmas, but with the option of also calling on the iPlayer and Netflix, you should be able to find common ground. If your uncle still insists on watching re-runs of The Last Of The Summer Wine as you robot your way around the room, it may take something more to bring him around.
Stick on a film in 3D and he won't care what he's watching. After all, who can resist a three-dimensional Nightmare Before Christmas delivered via a 55-inch screen - particularly when a pair of rather fetching goggles are thrown in. Pretty nifty the goggles are too, featuring technology designed to keep your eyes alert when the clichéd Christmas kip looms.
We all joke about dreaded relatives at Christmas, but the festive season really is a time for friends and family. Once we've opened our presents we like to get on the blower to our friends. Instead of trudging through to the phone in your PJs you can use the Samsung's Skype calling feature to give your best friend the lowdown on your present haul.
There's also a family app that lets you share messages and photos with other Smart device users, while a kids' zone feature offers a collection of - perhaps unsurprisingly - kids' shows.
Of course, once the eating and viewing marathon is over we can all get a bit sluggish, bemoaning our empty wallets and full bellies.
Samsung clearly feels these vibes, for it has fitted the ES8000 with an app devoted to fitness. You can banish that dreaded Christmas bulge with built-in workout videos while the TV works out how much weight you could be losing and charts your progress with graphs.
But by the time you've got yourself back to your best, you'll be ready to do it all again next year.
So, there we have it - a TV which redefines 'smart' when it comes to Christmas. Whether it is easing sofa hostilities, helping us chat with friends or allowing us to sink into comfortable bloated silences in glorious 3D, the Samsung UE55ES8000 has it gift-wrapped.