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Samsung to sell 25m ‘smart TVs’ this year

SEOUL, Feb 8 – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said Wednesday it plans to sell more than 25 million “smart TVs” this year as it tries to capture the emerging Internet TV market eyed by competitors including Apple.

The firm hopes to fill more than half of its planned global flat-screen TV sales of 50 million this year with Internet-enabled, interactive TVs, said Kim Hyun-Suk, head of the firm’s television business.

Samsung’s latest smart TV recognises human voices in some 30 languages to turn itself on or off, switch channels or adjust volume. It also recognises hand motions and offers some 1,500 applications.

“This TV contains all technologies and features we have,” Kim told reporters, adding that the model — named ES8000 — will hit stores worldwide by the end of March.

Smart TV allows consumers to access the Internet and online videos as well as offering specialised applications such as video games.

Top electronics makers including Samsung and LG Electronics have been aggressively pushing the televisions, seen as a hub in increasingly web-connected home appliances and other mobile gadgets.

Samsung also hopes to introduce a smart TV run on Google’s operating platform by the end of this year, Kim added, amid growing interest in arch-rival Apple’s soon-to-be launched smart TV.

Kim was bullish about TV sales this year despite the economic woes in Europe and the United States, saying demand from China remained strong.

“The sales so far this year have been even better than the same period last year,” he said.

Research firm DisplaySearch expects the global TV market to grow just 2.0 percent this year after no growth in 2011, due to weak consumer demand amid the global economic downturn.

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