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Samsung Bows Holiday TVs

New York –

Samsung here Wednesday took the wraps off of its new high-performance TV models slated to ship in time for the the holidays. Highlights included a lineup of LED-based LCD TVs, the company’s first Wi-Fi enabled plasma sets and a new 3D system for DLP-based rear projection HDTV viewing.

In LCD TV, the company presented two new big-screen model lines in the 71 and 81 series. Sets in both series feature cosmetic designs that are similar to Samsung’s popular “Bordeaux Plus” gloss black look, but feature slimmer bezels, and ultra-thin side-firing speakers.

The sets also replace the circular central IR receptor eye found in the base of the bezel of previous designs with a below-screen-mounted blue-light element in a design style called “blue sunset.” The light can be dimmed or shut off if preferred. The look matches a variety of new Samsung home theater components.

The 71 series, which will receive open distribution, features 1080p resolution, a 120Hz “Auto Motion Plus” frame rate system based on interpolation techniques to smooth out fast motion images, CCFL backlighting, and three HDMI v1.3 inputs with x.v.YCC expanded color gamut capability. Other features include Samsung’s Super Clear Panel technology and a 25,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. In addition to the side-firing speakers, the series includes a subwoofer mounted on the back of the panel to enhance bass sound response.

The series will receive open distribution and includes the 40-inch ($2,699 suggested retail), 46-inch ($3,399) and 52-inch ($4,399) screen sizes.

Stepping up is the 81 series, which will receive a protected distribution policy targeting A/V specialty dealers, installers and sales-driven regional accounts.

The series adds most of the features of the 71 series plus LED-based backlighting, which dramatically increases contrast, black level, and color saturation, while increasing the life expectancy of the panel lighting system to 80,000 hours from 50,000 hours in most CCFL models.

To improve contrast, the LED system uses a process called “local dimming” and scans images onto the screen in three synchronized quadrants to achieve a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Unlike CRT “scanning” the system does not introduce artifacts into the picture, the company said.

Screen sizes in the 81 series include 40-inches ($2,999), 46-inches ($3,999), 52-inches ($4,999) and 57 inches ($7,999).

Like the 71 series, the 81 series models include 1080p resolution and a 120Hz frame rate using Samsung’s Auto Motion PlusLED technology. The Auto Motion Plus system is implemented “a little bit differently” than in the 71 series models, employing the LED quadrant scanning system, said Ali Atash, Samsung LCD senior marketing manager.

In plasma, the company introduced its first Wi-Fi enabled models in the 94 series, which includes the 50 inch and 58 inch screen sizes.

Models include three HDMI v1.3 inputs, swivel stands, gloss black cosmetics with the new “sunset blue” design accents, side-firing speakers, and Ultra FilterBrite technology to improve contrast performance in strong ambient lighting conditions,

The sets include a broadcast base station equipped with a built-in 802.11n wireless router. The base station component is kept near source devices, such as Blu-ray disc players, satellite boxes, DVD players, etc. and will relay those images wirelessly to the display.

The only wiring required for the TV set is the power cord.

Samsung sees the system as an entry level home entertainment network for A/V specialty dealers and custom installers.

It is the ideal solution for those customers who want more affordable networking solutions without running wires throughout the home, the company said. The 802.11n  system does not suffer from interference issues with other wireless networks or telephones in the home. The system will allow placement of the TV up to 200 feet from the broadcast module, and does not require line-of-sight placement.

The Wi-Fi capability will add about a $600 premium to the cost of the plasma panel, Samsung said, with the 50-inch FPT5094 shipping in mid October at a $4,500 suggested retail.

WiseLink software is included to work with a USB 2.0 input to automatically pick up digital image slideshows from connected peripherals. The Wi-Fi base station will allow the connection of a PC to play stored music and image files and to connect to the Internet to view streaming videos and video downloads.

New in DLP microdisplay is a 3D image system co-developed with Texas Instruments, DDD USA and I-O Display Systems.
 The capability is built into all of Samsung’s DLP sets, and can be made to produce 3D images with the addition of an emitter and special glasses.

The system, which is billed by Samsung as the first affordable 3D high definition system, uses PC-based software (developed by DDD USA) and specially developed 3D glasses equipped with LCD shutters (developed by I-O Display Systems). The software will playback PC video games, movies and web sites in 3D using a connected Samsung DLP TV, and will convert many 2D images to 3D as well.

A package including the software, emitter and glasses will be sold for about $200. Samsung is looking at bundling the system with TVs.