By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York — As supermodel Kate Upton, quarterback Eli Manning and hip-hop artist Flo Rida looked on, Samsung Electronics America executive VP Joe Stinziano gave a formal send-off to his company’s 2013 TV and A/V model lines in the heart of Wall Street on Wednesday.
Although most of the TVs were first announced at International CES in January, the latest press conference marked the beginning of the transition into the new year’s product assortment, which will be highlighted by the company’s first 85-inch Ultra High-Definition LED LCD TV (models UN85S9) that will be available for online preorders at a $39,995 suggested retail at the end of the month. It was also the first time many of the product prices were revealed to the public. (For the complete pricing please see Samsung Reveals 2013 TV Prices)
The Samsung S9 Ultra HD TV features Precision Black Pro technology for deep, real blacks and pure whites, combined with Ultimate Dimming for a high contrast ratio. Samsung includes its proprietary up-scaling engine to convert FullHD 1080p content to Ultra HD-level picture quality.
The S9 also includes 120 watt, three-way 2.2 channel sound for “six times” the fidelity of standard TVs.
The company said it will also offer its first 55-inch 1080p OLED TV “in the second half of the year,” at a price to be announced, the company said.
But Dave Das, Samsung home entertainment VP, said it was Samsung top-end 8500-series plasma TVs that will produce the best overall picture performance in the company’s 2013 model line.
Although the sets have only 1080p FullHD resolution, Das said Samsung re-engineered the flagship plasma series this year to produce the deepest black levels and brightest whites to date.
Das said the company’s TVs would start shipping this month, starting with the flagship 8000 LED LCD TV series and the 8500 series plasma.
Meanwhile, Samsung said its Smart Evolution Kit — first announced for select 2012 models last year to enable them to be updated with the latest 2013 smart-TV features — will ship in May at a $300 suggested retail price.
The Kit, which also ships with a Smart Touch remote, includes a box that attaches to the back of compatible sets. Samsung guarantees the Smart Evolution Kit will allow upgrade for up to four years for the time of purchase.
Similarly, 2013 F7500 LED LCD TVs and higher and F8500 plasma TVs will be compatible with future Smart Evolution adapters.
Stinziano said for 2013 Samsung has “been working harder than ever to give consumers what they want. And with all [the program] choices they now have, what they truly want is simplicity.”
Samsung’s redesigned Smart Hub in select 2013 TV models offers five menu panels to help consumers manage and navigate different types of content, and an S-Recommendation feature that lets consumers easily find content they want from regular broadcast and cable channels to various video-on-demand services.
Smart View lets consumers move content between the TV and connected devices in real time, so consumers never miss a moment of their favorite shows using AllShare. Also included in select models is an Advanced Smart Interaction feature that allows consumers to use everyday language and casual gestures to control the TV.
For its expanding SmarTV content library, Samsung introduced three apps, including custom streaming music service Spotify, Fox Now and Univision’s UVideos
Fox Now offers free on-demand access to Fox TV shows. Spotify offers an immense digital music catalog allowing on-demand access to almost any song or artist through the TV speakers or home audio system.
Univision’s UVideos offers on-demand access to favorite programs from the Spanish/English bilingual digital TV network. Additionally, UVideos will offer “spoiler-free social TV,” where viewers can comment along with others on social media.
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