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Samsung Unveils ‘Direct-Lit’ LED/LCD TV Line

New York –


unveiled at a press reception here Tuesday its 2012 TV lineup, but despite all
of the advanced new technologies, a lineup of new midline “direct-lit” LED LCD
TVs may have the biggest impact on TV unit sales in the year ahead.

The new direct-lit LED TVs are part of Samsung’s “EH” model
assortment, in screen sizes from 26 to 65 inches across four model series, all
designed to give consumers a cost-effective alternative to less energy
efficient Cold Cathode Fluorescent (CCFL) based LCD TVs on mainstream selling

Dave Das, Samsung TV product marketing VP, said the new
direct-lit EH LED TVs will serve as a stepping stone between a narrowed
assortment of entry CCFL models and higher performing “Slim Line” LED LCD TVs
that use an edge-lighting approach that affords thinner panel depths and
further improvements to picture performance.

All of the EH models will offer better power efficiency than
their CCFL counter parts, as well as improved brightness and contrast, while
offering roughly the same panel depth as those entry units.

Meanwhile, Samsung once again demonstrated the unusual
speech/gesture/face recognition control system, called Smart Interaction, that
is included in the ES8000 and ES7500 LED/LCD TV series, as well as the PNE8000
plasma series. The system is controlled by new dual-core processors included in
each set.

Smart Interaction will enable users to control simple set
functions by speaking, moving their hands, or showing themselves to the
system’s built-in cameras to activate a Facebook page (for example).

A feature called Smart Evolution offers a CPU and memory module
in a set-back box, which will allow purchasers to upgrade their sets to the
latest features as they are developed through 2016. The pricing on the box was
not disclosed.

The flagship LED line also features an ultra-slim “One Design”
bezel, first introduced by Samsung in 2011, along with a new matching U-shape
stand that makes the TV look almost weightless. The ES8000 will also be
available in the 46-, 55- and 60-inch screen sizes with a 65-inch model coming
later in the year (seeing pricing and availability below).

Samsung will include Micro Dimming technology in a variety of
levels this year, starting in the ES6600 Slim-LED models and up. The step-up
ES7500 has Micro Dimming Pro technology that is said to add color and detail
enhancements to the image using video processing, while a Micro Dimming
Ultimate feature in ES8000 series models will analyze the picture to optimize
the LED backlight and video signal in real time.

As for 3D, Samsung said the feature is included in more than
half of all 2012 models, and many ship with two pairs of active shutter
glasses, with higher-end models shipping with four pairs. Glasses will also
sell separately at prices starting at $20.

The EH sets will be offered in the EH4000 series, with 26- and
32-inch models; the EH5000 series, with 32-, 37-, 40-, 46- and 50-inch models;
the EH5300 series with 40- and 46-inch models and possibly a 50-inch model coming
later in the year; and the EH6000 series featuring 40-, 46-, 50-, 55-, 60- and
65-inch models.

The EH5300 series and higher models include built-in Wi-Fi linking
to the Samsung Smart Hub to easily access a wide range of apps or browse the
web; it also supports Skype and Samsung DLNA-enabled AllShare technology.

The EH5300 offers a narrow bezel design, 1080p resolution.

All of the EH models use a so-called full array LED mounting
system, where LEDs are positioned all the way across the LCD panel back plane.
This has traditionally been positioned by Samsung and others as a superior form
LED technology. But Das said to reduce the price, the new sets use fewer LEDs
than earlier full-array models (the company is not disclosing exactly how many
LEDs or how many sectors of LEDs are employed).

Samsung said it has improved the technology on its edge-lit LED
LCD TVs so much that those models now outperform most full array LED
approaches, while delivering superior panel depth dimensions.

In plasma, Samsung is offering 16 models across seven series.

All plasma models will have Samsung’s proprietary Real Black
Filter, previously only available in premium models, to deliver improved black
levels and color contrast. The higher-end E6500, E7000 and E8000 models will
incorporate new Real Black Pro technology that boosts black levels further.

The lineup includes the flagship Samsung plasma E8000, which
features a new black bezel design with enhanced display technologies.

New features in select step-up models in the line include:
dual-core CPUs for quick app launching; integrated camera and noise-cancelling
microphones in high-end models for voice/gesture/face operation; Smart
Evolution set-back box technology that will allow top-end models to be upgraded
to newly advanced features as they are developed; AllShare Play DLNA capability
with connectivity to cloud storage for access inside and outside the home; a
new Smart Touch remote and Smart Wireless keyboard for more advanced input