Samsung KS9500 SUHD TV
Samsung may have singlehandedly rescued the entire smart home category from itself — with a television. All of the manufacturer’s new 4K-resolution SUHD sets come with a thumb drive-style dongle that fits into a USB port, which lets you control a huge range of devices around the home, such as smart lightbulbs and thermostats, as well as smart locks, all with the TV remote and a slick, minimalist on-screen interface. You can group multiple device behaviors into a single preset, such as dousing the lights and turning down the heat in Away mode. It’s as simple as that — no fiddling with various control apps on your phone or installing one or more separate hubs to communicate with those gadgets. The TV itself is the smart home hub, and it works with more than 200 smart home devices (so long as they’re IoT-certified).
Samsung could have stopped there, and had a breakthrough product. But this set’s Smart Remote goes further, controlling devices plugged into its HDMI ports. So you can use a single remote to adjust sound and picture settings on the TV, then channel surf via a cable box, and finally watch video from a streaming-capable device, such as the Xbox One gaming console. Image quality on the TV is excellent, but that’s a given with Samsung’s SUHD series. It’s the grand unification of devices, and particularly smart home devices, that makes this TV a contender for Best In Show. There’s no price or availability yet, but Samsung plans to eventually make its SmartThings Extend USB dongle backwards compatible, to work with older, non-SUHD TVS. [samsung.com]
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