By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Samsung used a Holidays in July press event here to introduce four LCD TV lines and a new plasma series, all carrying the company's successful Touch of Color (ToC) cosmetic styling.
"The last 90 days have proven the success of the Touch of Color concept as measured by customer demand for the lines we introduced this spring," said Jonas Tanenbaum, Samsung LCD TV marketing VP. "The Touch of Color IDs in our new series offer slight variations on the theme, in which we use a unique infused acrylic bezel with varying bezel widths and varying hues and color amounts."
Highlighting the offerings were the new flagship LCD TV series —series 9 (950) —which marks the second generation of the company's LED-based LCD TVs with "SmartLighting" local dimming circuitry, and the first of its LED-based models to include "Auto Motion Plus" 120Hz frame-rate technology to enhance the full HD 1080p picture quality.
The line, which will start shipping in August, will replace the 81 Series LEDs and includes the 46- and 55-inch screen sizes at $3,200 (LN46A950) and $4,200 (LN55A950) estimated street retail prices, respectively.
The 55-inch model replaces the 52-inch screen size found in last year's 81 series.
In addition to incorporating charcoal-gray color accents in the ToC bezel design, the series includes a narrower cabinet depth and thinner bezels than previous models.
The LED technology features an expanded white LED array, which significantly improves picture brightness (up to 550 nits), color saturation and black-level performance, Samsung said. Power consumption of the sets is reduced using Samsung's local dimming technology, which constantly adjusts the individual brightness levels of each segment of the screen to correspond with dark and bright areas of the image.
The technology will enable shutting off the light entirely in a segment of a screen to achieve true black levels, Samsung said.
At the same time, the dynamic contrast ratio is said to be boosted to a 1,000,000:1 level.
Features in the series include Samsung's InfoLink and WiseLink Pro technologies. InfoLink draws on an RSS Internet technology to deliver news, weather and stock quotes from USA Today's online services. The TVs will also play MP3 music, JPEG photos and video files stored on memory drives, other digital devices, or PCs with Samsung's WiseLink Pro and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatibility, which is included in all model series starting with the 750 series and higher.
The series 9 also comes with internal flash memory preloaded with digital content including high-resolution artwork, cooking recipes, exercise routines, children's programming and games.
Also added is Ultra Clear Panel technology that is said to eliminate ambient light reflection that may affect picture quality, while enhancing color reproduction levels.
The company also showed its series 8 850 and 860 LCD HDTVs with additional new style and color accents for the ToC collection, including slimmer and narrower frames measuring "about 1.9 inches in depth, which is as much as 60 percent the depth of our standard LCD TVs," said Dave Das, Samsung visual display product manager.
"Not only are these Samsung's slimmest TVs ever, they are among the slimmest LCD TVs on the market with a built-in tuner," Das said.
Models in the 850 Series will feature a rose trim color accent, while the 860 lineup, which will get limited distribution through A/V specialty dealers, will include a blue color accent.
Both series include full 1080p resolution with up to a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios and Auto Motion Plus 120Hz frame rate and Ultra Clear Panel technologies.
Other features include the aforementioned InfoLink, WiseLink Pro systems and an assortment of connection options to digital content, including USB 2.0 input and DLNA compatibility. The 860 Series models also include dual USB inputs.
Both series include models in the 46- and 52-inch screen sizes, all of which are slated to ship in September. The LN46A850 and LN52A850 will have suggested retails of $2,699 and $3,399, respectively while the LN46A860 and LN55A860 will see suggested retails of $2,799 and $3,499, respectively.
Samsung also showed its Series 6 630 LCD family, representing the company's entry 1080p/120Hz LCD models, and also featuring ToC styling.
Screen sizes include 40, 46 and 52 inches, and all offer full 1080p HD resolution and Auto Motion Plus 120Hz frame rate technology.
Models offer a narrower bezel design with dual-injection molding technology that embeds color material into the frame to "mimic a natural sunset with distinct red and black gradation." Ambient light levels can adjust the strength of the red hue's brightness, Samsung said.
Features in the line include WiseLink with the USB 2.0 interface Wide Color Enhancer 2 circuitry for an expanded color range.
Models have just started shipping and include the LN40A630 ($1,699 estimated street retail), the LN46A630 ($2,099) and the LN52A630 ($2,699).
ToC styling was also added to the company's plasma category in the series 7 lineup, offering 50-, 58- and 63-inch screen sizes. The ToC design in the series includes a hint of red color blended into a piano black bezel.
All models off full 1080p resolution with up to 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios, using Samsung's Ultra FilterBright technology.
The line was also designed to enable installers and professional calibrators to set picture parameters for optimal viewing in both nighttime and daytime conditions.
Other features include DNIe Pro video processing and 18-bit natural true color processing, the aforementioned InfoLink RSS system and WiseLink Pro.
Models, which ship this month, include the PN50A760 ($2,799 estimated street retail), the PN58A760 ($4,499) and the PN63A760 ($4,999).
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