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Samsung Unveils Flagship LED LCD TVs

7/30/2009 11:48:21 AM Eastern

Ridgefield Park, N.J. - Samsung Electronics America unveiled Thursday a new top-of-the-line 8500 series of FullHD 1080p LCD TVs with full-array LED backlighting.

The series is a complement to Samsung's recently introduced 8000 series of LCD TVs, which use edge-lit LED lighting to achieve a 1.17-inch panel depth. In comparison, the new 8500 series models achieve a panel depth of 1.6 inches while delivering more uniform illumination across the full width of the frame, and improving black levels, contrast and color saturation through the use of Samsung's local dimming technology.

The later is able to generate truer blacks by dimming or turning off only specific clusters of white LEDs in the darker portions of the picture. Conventional CCFL and edge-lit LED lighting keeps the backlight at one constant level, leaving LCD cells to act as valves to reduce the brightness in the picture. Usually some light leaks through, reducing contrast performance.

The new HDTVs are said to combine the picture quality and thinness attributes of LED technology with the company's latest networking and interactive features.

"For consumers who are looking for the ultimate HD centerpiece and high-level performance in their home theater, the Samsung 8500 series delivers break-through quality and design," stated John Revie, Samsung Electronics visual display marketing senior VP. "The 8500 series underscores Samsung's dedication to providing a full range of HDTVs that not only achieve the highest levels of picture quality, but also provide unique and immersive entertainment experiences through our Medi@2.0ä suite."

The 8500 series models will be offered in the 46-inch ($3,600 suggested retail) and 55-inch ($4,500) screen sizes. Both will ship to dealers in September.

The dynamic contrast ratio of both models is rated at a 7,000,000:1.

For color control, Samsung uses its Wide Color Enhancer Pro technology while its Ultra Clear Panel system is said to improve image clarity and brightness regardless of a room's ambient lighting.

Both models comply with Energy Star v3.0 ratings, and include an optimized energy-savings mode that adjusts the backlight and picture quality without sacrificing the overall viewing experience.

Panel response time for the 8500 series is listed at 2ms, which when combined with the company's Auto Motion Plus 240Hz frame interpolation technology reduces blurring in fast motion scenes.

The sets offer three standard Auto Motion Plus presets and allow users to also separately adjust the levels of judder and motion blur reduction to taste.

As for IPTV capability, Samsung's Medi@2.0ä suite provides access to Internet@TV, a content service developed in association with Yahoo! to provide onscreen access to popular Web-based multimedia sites, including Yahoo! (Flickr, video, news, weather and finance), USA Today (sports), Twitter, YouTube and others.

The widgets-based interface and scrollbar are activated with the push of a button and run along the bottom of the screen for easy browsing of the latest programs and content available. Content partners will be continuously added or removed remotely as new partnerships are formed and consumer usage demands.

The Medi@2.0ä suite provides wired and wireless DLNA compatibility to enable the TVs to access photos, music and videos from networked PCs. Preloaded photos, artwork, games and recipes are also included for entertaining, and two USB 2.0 connections can be used for playing a plethora of video, photo and audio files from portable devices, including external hard memory.

Both models are part of the Samsung Touch of Color design class. The sets are also compatible with Samsung's ultra-slim wall-mount solution (sold separately) that reduces the gap between the TV and the wall to 0.6 inches.

The sets ship with a crystal-neck swivel stand.

Connectivity includes four HDMI-CED inputs, one set of component inputs, two  USB 2.0 inputs, one Ethernet jack, one optical audio output and one PC input.

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