New York – Samsung used a press conference at the Guggenheim Museum here Wednesday to formally roll out its 2014 A/V lines, highlighted by its expanded assortment of Ultra HDTV and curved-screen sets.
The company reviewed four 2014 Ultra HD TV series, highlighted by the company’s U9000 series of curved LED/LCD models.
“In 2014, we’ve once again asserted our leadership in the home entertainment space by delivering the next big thing across our product categories,” said Joe Stinziano, Samsung America executive VP. “From our full lineup of UHD and curved TVs to our Shape wireless audio-multiroom systems and content partnerships, we pride ourselves on offering consumers the ecosystem of choice, with beautifully designed premium home entertainment products that best suit their lifestyles.”
The company said interest in new curved-screen sets has gained traction since the first models appeared under several brands, including Samsung, last year. The company’s first such design was applied to its first OLED TV, but the company has since spread the approach to the more mainstream LED LCD TV technology segment.
In addition to providing a more intriguing visual set design, the approach is said to create an immersive panoramic visual experience that virtually wraps the image around the viewer to enhance the effect of 3D-like image depth from regular 2D material.
Samsung’s 2014 curved and flat Ultra HD TVs also offer improved Ultra HD up-scaling to give FullHD and lower-resolution content a near-native-Ultra HD appearance with minimal artifacts.
The proprietary technology uses a four-step process that includes signal analysis, noise reduction, up-scaling and detail analysis. UHD Dimming technology also helps to further optimize picture quality by processing each block of a picture and delivering deeper blacks and improved contrast.
Samsung said its Ultra HD TVs support the latest connection and compression standards, including HEVC, HDMI 2.0, MHL 3.0 and HDCP 2.2, and as in prior years, they will accept Samsung UHD Evolution Kit/one-connect boxes that will enable swapping out older-standard hardware and software for newer standards and features as they emerge over time.
Among the model highlights is Samsung’s 105-inch curved Ultra HD TV, due to arrive in the second half, offering a Cinemascope-like 21:9 aspect ratio.
Samsung’s U9000 curved-screen Ultra HD line will include the 55-inch ($3,999 suggested retail) and 65-inch ($4,999) screen sizes, both of which offer a package of advanced picture-processing technologies. This includes a proprietary Auto Depth Enhancer algorithm that analyzes regions of images and automatically adjusts contrast for a greater sense of depth; PurColor, which enhances colors for more detailed shades; and Peak Illuminator & Precision Black, which maximizes brightness range.
The curved-screen line is wall-mountable using regular VESA standard mounts.
A 78-inch U9000 model ($7,999) is planned for release later in the year.
The U8700 curved Ultra HD TV line will include the 55- and 65-inch models, both offering Precision Black local dimming, 1.2-inch panel thickness and narrow (0.27-inch) bezel design. Both units will be delivered later this spring at prices to be announced.
For flat-panel Ultra HD LCD enthusiasts, Samsung’s U8550 Ultra HD TV line includes the LED local dimming technology and smart-TV functionality in four model sizes — 50 ($2,499), 55 ($2,999) 60 ($3,499) and 65 inches ($3,999) — all of which will be available starting in March, and 75 inches ($5,999), available in May.
This year, Samsung is introducing the curved form factor to its LED TV offerings with the H8000 series. Additionally, Samsung is introducing the new H7150 series — a real 240Hz Full HD LED TV to round out its 2014 TV lineup.
Samsung is also bringing the curved-screen design to the FullHD LED LCD TV space with its H8000 series. Available this spring, models sizes include: 48 ($1,999), 55 ($2,499), and 65 inches ($3,399). The 48-inch version will be released in May.
The H7150 FullHD LED LCD TV series offers a flat-panel streamlined design and includes Micro Dimming Pro and Multi-Screen entertainment features for enhanced brightness, black level and color performance. Models feature a quad-core power split screen for multitaskers who can do multiple things on one screen.
The sets include Smart View 2.0, which allows wirelessly sharing content from a mobile device to a smart TV, or directly streams content from a mobile device. Models sizes include 55- ($1,899), 60- ($2,199), 65- ($2,699) and 75-inch ($3,999) models, all of which will be available this spring.
To help spark interest in new Ultra HD sets, Samsung pointed to a range of options for native Ultra HD content coming to viewers soon.
Samsung said streaming video providers including Amazon, M-Go and Netflix, and multichannel video service providers including Comcast and DirecTV, will be working with the company “to find the best ways to deliver UHD content to customers.”
In addition, Samsung is offering a Ultra HD video pack including 1TB of content storage that consumers can use to watch Hollywood releases in native UHD resolution.
Samsung is working with major studios to offer such titles as “Night at the Museum,” “The Counselor” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” from 21st Century Fox as well as “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “World War Z” from Paramount Pictures in UHD.
The Samsung UHD video pack, which also includes three documentaries, will be available in April for $299, the company said.
Samsung said it plans to release a second Ultra HD Video Pack with more content in the second half of this year.
Samsung also showcased its faster Samsung Smart Hub system offering access to live TV, video-on-demand apps and social media. The system’s Multi-Link feature delivers four screens that can simultaneously present live TV, streaming video and web content.
The system has also been made more intuitive with better content organization and a new Games Panel offers sports, action and racing games from leading partners.
This year’s smart TVs also include a new favorite apps feature on the bottom of the screen that allows easily toggling between the content options.
An upgraded Quad Core Plus processor is said to double the speed of smart features loading and response.
For Blu-ray Disc enthusiasts, Samsung highlighted its BD-H6500 (Spring, $179) Blu-ray player, offering compatibility with Shape wireless audio-multiroom products to further expand music options in the home. The BD-H6500 Blu-ray player also features Samsung’s proprietary Ultra HD up-scaling processor for use with Ultra HD sets. It also includes Smart View 2.0 video streaming and wireless connectivity that allows sharing content from Samsung smartphones.
Samsung Ultra HD TVs on display in the lobby of the Guggenheim Museum