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Samsung Unveils 55'' OLED TV, Voice Command

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
LAS VEGAS — Samsung is showing at International CES that it’s ready for any Apple TV challenges by presenting its first 55-inch FullHD 1080p OLED TV set.

Dave Das, Samsung TV product marketing VP, said the OLED set will ship to retailers at some point later in 2012. Pricing was not determined.

Unlike some other approaches to large-screen OLED development, Samsung said its set will uses individual red, green and blue pixels, allowing a nearsheet- of-glass (less than 0.3 inches deep) panel depth. Circuitry such as tuners, inputs and power supplies will be housed in an outboard box to enable the ultra-thin dimensions.

Panel life and power consumption were said to be comparable to moreefficient LCD TVs, but the technology affords richer and more accurate color saturation, and improved viewing angle and motionblur reduction to LCD.

“It will be priced at a premium to our top-of-the-line LED,” Das said.

As for the rest of the TV line, the 2012 premium-series TVs will incorporate Samsung-made dual-core processors with multi-tasking flexibility and a proprietary new Smart Interaction feature that uses an integrated camera and microphone, enabling voice control, motion recognition and facial-feature recognition.

“This will open up a whole new level in the way consumers interact with their TVs,” Das said. “So, for example, the facial-recognition feature could be used to automatically log you into Skype without the need to enter your username and password, or you could control or wakeup your TV with your voice, by simply saying ‘TV on.’ ”

The technology puts Samsung a step ahead of Apple before it even enters the TV space. Voice-control features had been hinted as a key new capability in the allegedly forthcoming Apple TV products.

The system would also enable voice-to-text to audibly enter a web browser search, Das said.

Users could also control certain TV functions using simple hand gestures to, for example, scroll up or down in an onscreen menu.

Das said Samsung expects its TV app developer community to come out with a host of apps that can utilize the new capabilities.

The camera will also allow an onscreen mirror function so users can see a picture of themselves overlaid on image of a pro-golfer taking a swing, for example, to make self adjustments to a swing.

All 2012 Samsung smart TVs will include built-in web browsers and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The company is also upgrading its DLNA-based All-Share system in select TV models from last year to a feature called All-Share Play, which will allow sharing content between devices both in and out of the home.

Das said 3D continues to be priority for Samsung in 2012. The company continues to support active-shutter 3D glasses technology in both its LCD and plasma TV lines, and this year it is including at least two pairs of Bluetooth active-shutter glasses with most 3D TVs it sells, and four pairs with some step-up series models.

Samsung’s 3DTVs will be compatible with new 3D universal standard active-shutter glasses in 2012.

Samsung also announced a new streaming 3DTV service being undertaken with NBC Universal. The production company will convert some of its shows to 3D in post production using help from Samsung to make 3D content available for online streaming.

As for SKU assortments, Das said Samsung has reduced the number of CCFL-backlit models to six for 2012, while slightly increasing the number of LED SKUs.

In addition, the company is adding a new LED step segment between CCFL LCD models and slim-design edge-lit LED models with Micro Dimming technology. The new LED models will be LED array backlit displays without local dimming technology.

The LED step models will have a thinner profile than CCFL LCD TVs, lower power consumption, better brightness and better color saturation, but at a more affordable price point than was previously possible.

Meanwhile, plasma SKU counts will be comparable to 2011, Das said.

During its CES press conference Monday, Samsung awarded a $100,000 check to Dennis and Linda McLain and the Goodwill Community Foundation, for winning the company’s Cross-Device App Developers’ TV Challenge. The winning app, called “Let’s Play Stop,” was chosen from 22 entries, and is a quiz challenge game that uses a tablet to input answers to questions shown on the TV screen.
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