By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Ridgefield Park, N.J. — Samsung Electronics America formally introduced Tuesday its first 55-inch curved OLED FullHD TV in the United States.
Samsung model KN55S9C carries a $9,000 suggested retail and is said to be the first TV to feature MultiView capabilities, which allows two viewers to watch two different programs in FullHD, stereo sound, and even FullHD 3D, on the same screen at the same time.
The feature is enabled by Samsung’s 3D Active glasses, which come with built-in personal stereo speakers.
Viewers can switch between the two sources with the touch of a button, without changing glasses.
Samsung called the curved OLED TV “a true technology statement, showcasing the unique possibilities of OLED technology while giving video content a presence not felt on flat screens.”
Like the 55-inch curved OLED TV introduced by LG two weeks earlier, Samsung’s curved display provides a wrap-around IMAX-like experience when viewed from the proper seating position, but at a $6,000 lower suggested retail.
Samsung executive VP Joe Stinziano told TWICE that production efficiencies enabled Samsung to both hit the lower price point and produce enough quantities to meet expected demand.
“As a leader in standout design and television display technology, Samsung’s new curved OLED TV sets the bar for the next generation of televisions coming to market,” Stinziano said. “Customers have come to expect brilliance from Samsung, and our curved OLED TV is just that. With true-to-life color, ultimate contrast and superior picture quality, this new TV delivers an astonishing home entertainment experience.”
The set offers bright images, faster response times than LCD displays to eliminate motion blur and crosstalk, and self-emitting RGB sub-pixels that are laid directly on the color display panel, so no color filter is required.
Looking very closely at the screen, Samsung has been able to produce a larger blue phosphor pixel, which should help with blue light output. A company executive told TWICE that blue phosphor longevity “is not an issue,” although the company declined to give a panel life expectancy.
The set also produces “absolute black levels” at a contrast ratio that exceeds previous display technologies, Samsung said.
The contrast performance is said to be enough to warrant a best overall picture quality declaration from the company, when compared with even new 4K Ultra High-Definition sets.
Samsung will position its Ultra HD sets as having the best resolution, and the OLED as having the best overall picture.
Other features in the set include Samsung’s Smart Hub smart-TV package that organizes entertainment and content into five convenient panels: On TV; Movies and TV Shows; Social; Apps; and Photos, Videos and Music.
The built-in S Recommendation feature suggests current and upcoming programs that should be of interest to viewers.
The set will also be compatible with Samsung’s Evolution Kit that allows consumers to easily update hardware and software to stay up to date with evolving innovations. In the case of the OLED TV, the evolution kit is an external connector hub strip, which connects to the screen by a single cable.
Replacing the hub requires simply swapping out the strip and re-connecting the source devices and the screen.
The set features a Timeless Arena design with a curved frame that emulates the curvature of an arena. The metallic-finish frame is said to offer “a touch of style and sophistication to any setting” by featuring a floating canvas.
Samsung eliminates cable clutter in the back of the set by enabling all connections to the screen through a single cable connection.
The set went on sale Tuesday at select Samsung regional and specialty dealers across the country, including Best Buy’s Magnolia showrooms.
Samsung is barring online sales of the set, executives told TWICE.
In related news, LG Electronics VP John Taylor issued the following comment on Samsung’s lower OLED price positioning Tuesday afternoon: “LG’s curved OLED TV, that’s been on sale in the U.S. since July 22, is a premium product that commands a premium price because of its superior performance and styling. It sells for $14,999.”
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