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Samsung Makes Big Move In ’05 HDTV Lineup

LAS VEGAS — An 80W-inch high-definition plasma TV set, a 57W-inch HD LCD set, expanded DLP rear-projection HDTV offerings and a line of ultra-thin-tube direct-view CRT HDTV sets and monitors will highlight Samsung’s CES television offerings this week.

At the same time, Samsung will roll out several 1,080p high-end DLP HDTV sets and will follow through on its transition to fully integrated HDTV sets by including ATSC tuning in all television products with screen sizes of 36-inches or larger.

First shown last year as a “technology statement,” Samsung’s high-definition 80W-inch plasma set, model HPR8072, will be among the largest ever to reach the U.S. market, the company said. The set is slated to ship in May at a price to be determined.

Resolution is listed as full 1,920 by 1,080p, with 68.7 billion color capability, using 12-bit video processing. Brightness is listed at 1,500cd/m2 and contrast is said to be 5,000:1.

Features include integrated ATSC tuning, digital CableCARD slot, Samsung’s proprietary Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) video processing, and an “Anynet” chip that adds home networking functionality. The latter allows the use of a single remote to operate multiple home theater components.

Samsung will also present a monster LCD TV in the 57W-inch LNR570D, which is due to ship in June at a $17,999 suggested retail. The Super Pattern Vertical Alignment (S-PVA) panel is being manufactured on Samsung’s Generation Seven LCD fabrication line.

The set will display full 1,920-by-1,080p high-definition resolution with 6.2 million color capability. It will incorporate an ATSC tuner and digital CableCARD slot.

In other LCD breakthroughs, Samsung will unveil a 46W-inch high-def 1,080p LCD TV with LED backlighting.

Model LN-R460D is due in March at a $12,999 suggested retail, and will incorporate ATSC tuning and a digital CableCARD slot. Also planned is a 40W-inch version at a $4,999 suggested retail.

Both models will be among the first LED LCD TVs on the market. The LED technology offers approximately 100,000 hours of panel life, uses less power, generates less heat, and maintains a consistent illumination level across the panel. It is also said to produce 105 percent of the NTSC color gamut.

In DLP rear-projection, Samsung will expand its line from eight to 12 models, to address its varied channels of distribution,” said Jim Sanduski, Samsung’s visual media products marketing VP. All DLP models this year will include both integrated ATSC tuning and digital CableCARD slots.

A highlight this year will be the addition of 1, 920 by 1,080p resolution in a number of models this year.

Although delayed, Samsung said it now plans to offer its first 1,080p DLP rear-projection set at the end of the first quarter of 2005 in a 56W-inch pedestal model. The model will carry a $5,199 suggested retail.

Following on that, the company plans a 67W-inch 1,080p tabletop model at the end of the second quarter, said Steve Panosian, Samsung’s digital projection marketing director. The screen size is expected to be the largest DLP rear projection set to date.

All 1,080p models will include Samsung’s Gen 5 “Cinema Smooth” light engine to present full 1,080p resolution while eliminating visible mirrors in the image.

Model HLR6768W (due in June at a $5,999 suggested retail) will be among a new class of Samsung DLP models featuring a “floating-screen” cosmetic design.

Panosian said the company is bracing for 12 percent to 15 percent declines in industry microdisplay rear-projection TV pricing from 2004 to 2005, which will feed already strong demand.

“We see industry sales doubling again this year from 1.3 million units in 2004 to between 2.3 and 2.5 million in 2005 for microdisplay alone,” said Panosian. “This is a business that is here for the long term, representing the value category for larger screen sizes.”

All of Samsung’s DLP models this year will include integrated ATSC tuning and CableCARD slots and will have IEEE-1394 digital interfaces.

Continuing will be a series of higher-end models featuring Samsung’s pedestal cabinet design. Pedestal models will be offered in the 50W-inch and 56W-inch screen sizes.

Samsung will also offer five “core-line” DLP HDTV sets in five different screen sizes for key national accounts and regional independent dealers. All will offer tabletop cabinet configurations and floating-screen designs. The highlight will be the aforementioned 67W-inch 1,080p set. Other screen sizes in the series will include 46W-inches, 50W-inches, 56W-inches, and 61W-inches.

The flagship pedestal DLP series (including 1,080p models and a 720p 50W-inch model) will also be positioned with national and regional independent dealers.

Panosian said Samsung will offer separate models for TV/appliance dealers, consisting of a mix of screen sizes ranging from 50W-inches to 61W-inches.

In CRT rear-projection TV, Samsung will offer in the middle of the second quarter two new models in the 43W-inch and 47W-inch screen sizes. Entry pricing starts at a $1,299 suggested retail. Both offer the same floating-screen cabinet design as Samsung’s core line DLPs. They will both be fully integrated HDTVs, but will omit CableCARD slots.

“We still see a meaningful CRT rear-projection business ahead,” Panosian said. “We believe most of those will be priced at or below $1,499.”

Panosian said Samsung will also show an expanded line of front projectors, including a new EDTV-level DLP model to join its previously launch 720p version. The SPH-500B (which ships in February at $3,499) will feature 1024 by 576 resolution.

Samsung also plans to break new ground with the introduction of some of the world’s thinnest direct-view CRT televisions. Called “SlimFit HDTVs,” the displays will be part of Samsung’s DynaFlat TV series.

The TVs have two-thirds the depth of typical picture-tube sets. The SlimFit 30W-inch TX-R3079WH (March, $1,299 suggested retail) measures 15.5-inches deep, compared to 24 inches for traditional 30W-inch direct-view sets. It is about 2 inches deeper than a 32W-inch LCD TV mounted on a stand, but at about half the price. The TX-R3079WH will include integrated ATSC tuning.