The technology appeared less responsive compared with the Xbox 360's Kinect motion-control system, which seems to do a much better job at swiping through menus.
Later, in a quiet, enclosed Samsung booth, the TV struggled to comprehend voice commands. The TV was asked, "find me a movie with Tom Cruise," and correctly pulled up an online trailer of his latest movie, "Jack Reacher." The system was then asked to "find me dramas." The command "Number 3" was given to choose the third option in the results, but the TV instead started a new search and offered a range of viewing options for "Sommersby."
There are some safeguards in place so that the TV wouldn't misinterpret casual conversations or gestures as actual commands. You'd need to press a button before giving a voice command, and you'd need to stand still for a few seconds and raise one hand before an on-screen cursor would appear for gesture commands.
Paul Gagnon, a TV analyst with research firm NPD Group, said these technologies are still in their early days.
"Most interaction I've had with gesture and voice control ... it's not real great right now," he said. "Right now, a lot of people in the industry are just trying to explore the possibilities."
The TV makers' new interactive features fared better when they reverted to the traditional remote control format, with some twists.
Samsung's new remote has a touch-enabled track pad that swiped through menus similar to smartphone screens on Android and Apple mobile devices.
Panasonic Corp. is also including a track pad and a microphone on its new remote — though it faces similar challenges recognizing commands. A voice command for "Breaking Bad" on video brought up Google search results on a Web browser, as opposed to opportunities to watch the show.