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Samsung Details New TV Tech at NYC Event

Sections: TVs, Video

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Flo Rida, Kate Upton, Eli Manning at Samsung Event 2013When Kate Upton rolled onstage yesterday to to show off Samsung’s new Smart Hub smart TV enhancements during an event at the Museum of American Finance, my friend and colleague Grant Clauser leaned over and whispered, “She’s taller than I imagined.”

When the next spokesmodel came out to tout the TVs’ new S-Recommendations feature—which allows you to easily find content that might interest you, whether it’s on broadcast TV, premium channels, or even video-on-demand—I leaned back and whispered, “Who’s that?” It was Eli Manning. He plays sportsball of some sort, apparently, which may explain why he needed no introduction for most of the crowd.

Rapper Flo Rida followed, not only to demonstrate the Smart View second-screen and music streaming capabilities of the new Smart Hub, but also to show off Samsung’s new Giga Sound Systems—2.2-channel, 15-inch-subwoofer-equipped DJ-esque home audio systems with 2300 watts and 2560 watts power and $999 and $1499 price tags, respectively. Big Picture Big Sound’s Chris Boylan leaned over to me and said, “I always though his name was pronounced ‘Florida’.”

The point is, gather a group of tech geeks together and we don’t really care about celebrity appearances; we want to know more about the technology itself. (Okay, to be fair, the Y-chromosome-inflicted amongst us all had nice things to say about Upton’s appearance, and if Neil deGrasse Tyson had been on the celebrity panel, I would have had an absolute nerdgasm.)

Thankfully, after the polished, professional presentation was over, we got to wander around and learn about the tech to our geeky little hearts’ content. I snagged Senior CE Products Test Manager Mike Wood to ask what was new with the company’s 2013 slate of TVs, and he pulled out of his pocket an actual working Evolution Kit—the new add-on box that upgrades the processor and Smart Hub features of last year’s TVs to this year’s spec.

Samsung S9 UHDTVOne interesting new tidbit about the Evolution Kit is that it’s capable of upgrading more than just the internal electronics. We strolled past the company’s behemoth new 85-inch, $39,999 S9 TV, and Mike revealed that future Evolution Kits will be able to upgrade the inputs 4K monster—which currently relies on an HDMI connection—to include DisplayPort, as well, and also add new tuners when/if a 4K broadcast standard comes along.

Despite how impressive the S9 is—and make no doubt about it, even at twice the price of the similarly sized competition, the TV’s gorgeous presentation is sure to make it popular with those who can afford it and have the space—I was more interested in learning about Samsung’s new flagship F8500 plasma. As Mike explained, one of the reasons that the F8500 is so bright is a new pixel structure, which increases the size of sub-pixel elements and reduces the “screen door” space between pixels. A new black filter for ambient light reduction and a new method of scaling white clipping between 235 and 255 depending on room brightness also give the F8500 its incredible LED-like brightness and Stygian blacks.

2013 Samsung Smart HubWe also got a bit more info on Samsung’s new Intelligent Viewing feature, which has been hinted at before—and was teased in the official presentation—but to be honest, until Mike explained how it works, it sounded like the sort of feature I would instantly turn off when setting up a new TV. Intelligent Viewing has been described as a feature that processes video differently depending on the source, which sounds a little vague and voodoo-y. Basically, though, the way Mike described it, if you’re viewing Netflix or some other streaming source from a Blu-ray player, normal video processing would look at the incoming signal, see it as 1080p, and pretty much leave it alone. Intelligent Viewing digs a little deeper, looking at parameters like actual video bandwidth to suss out whether a video signal is genuine HD or low-res streaming being passed to the display as 1080p, and applies things like noise- and moiré-reduction when needed.

This year’s slate of LED TVs are also getting some nice enhancements, like a new spacing of the LED edge lights to ensure that black bars in letterboxed cinemascope material really are black.

All in all, a very informative after-event, and I came away even more excited to get some hands-on time with the new flagship plasma.

Full pricing and availability for Samsung’s new Plasma and LED lineup are as follows:

2013 Samsung plasma lineup

Series/Model

Size Class (inches)

Estimated Selling Price

2013 Availability

(Est.)

F8500

64

$3699

Late March

F8500

60

$3199

Late March

F8500

51

$2199

Late March

F5500

64

$2099

April

F5500

60

$1199

April

F5500

51

$849

April

F5300

64

$1499

Available Now

F5300

60

$949

Available Now

F5300

51

$649

Available Now

F4500

51

$549

Available Now

F4500

43

$399

Available Now

 

2013 Samsung LED TV lineup 

 

Series/Model

Size Class (inches)

Estimated Selling Price

2013 Availability

(Est.)

F8000

75

$7,999

May

F8000

65

$3,499

April

F8000

60

$2,999

April

F8000

55

$2,699

March

F8000

46

$2,199

March

F7500

60

$2,699

April

F7500

55

$2,399

March

F7500

46

$1,899

March

F7100

75

$5,999

May

F7100

65

$2,899

April

F7100

60

$2,399

March

F7100

55

$2,099

March

F7100

46

$1,599

March

F6400

75

$4,999

April

F6400

65

$2,499

April

F6400

60

$1,899

April

F6400

55

$1,699

March

F6400

50

$1,399

April

F6400

46

$1,199

March

F6400

40

$949

March

F6300

65

$2,299

March

F6300

60

$1,699

March

F6300

55

$1,599

March

F6300

50

$1,299

April

F6300

46

$1,099

March

F6300

40

$849

March

F6300

32

$699

March

F5500

50

$999

April

F5500

46

$829

March

F5500

40

$629

March

F5500

32

$479

March

F5000

50

$899

March

F5000

46

$749

Available Now

F5000

40

$549

Available Now

F5000

32

$399

Available Now

F5000

22

$229

April

F4000

29

$299

April

F4000

19

$179

March

FH6030

55

$1,099

March

FH6030

46

$849

May

FH6030

40

$649

May

 

Contact info:
Samsung

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