Thursday, April 24, 2008

Samsung intros HDTVS with 3D and networking

At a press preview Wednesday, Samsung demonstrated some of the industry’s first Hi-def plasma sets capable of supporting 3-D content in the form of PC software, video games and digital movie file sources, as well as InfoLink Internet connectivity and networking .

Samsung’s “Touch of Color” (ToC) models started arriving in stores about a month ago, and additional models will arrive through May. The new style features gloss-black cabinets, floating glass frames in some SKUs and narrow accent borders in red around the edges of the bezel frames. The accents are added using a special dual-injection fabrication process that places the color into the plastic of the frame.

Depending on the model line the red accent stripe is designed to stand out when backlit, or in other models, when lighted head on. Depending on the viewing angle, the accent takes on a crystalline appearance.

“ToC is just the latest step in our company's commitment to constantly introduce innovative designs along with innovative technologies,” a Sammy spokesman said. “Developed from years of research and design, specifically in the design-conscious automotive and fashion industries, we hope our Touch of Color design can redefine the role HDTVs play in the home by holding both entertainment and artistic value.”

The Series 6 and 7 LCD TVs are being distributed to Samsung’s big-box and A/V specialty dealers, but will not be offered through mass merchants or discount chains. Samsung's InfoLink RSS service delivers news, weather, stock reports, sports and other content from USA Today directly to the TV screen using a networked broadband connection to the set. Users will also have access to digital media from their PCs via USB 2.0 with WiseLink.

Series 6 650, which began shipping in March, and Series 7 750 LCD HDTVs feature 1080p picture resolution, up to a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios, Samsung's Auto Motion Plus 120Hz frame rate and Ultra Clear Panel technologies. The sets are also EPA as EnergyStar rated. Models include an InfoLink RSS function to access USA Today news content from the Web.

Models in the Series 7 750 LCD line will all ship in May and include the 39.9-, 45.9- and 52-inch screen sizes. They will add enhanced networking and multimedia management with WiseLink Pro, which plays MPEG4 and DiVX video files as well as MP3 music and JPEG photos through a bridge to user’s PC, and an illuminated Wheel-Key remote. The sets also Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compliant, allowing consumers to share content with other DLNA certified products.

Series 5 550 LCD TVs ship in May and include the 31.5-, ($1,099), 37.1- ($1,399), 40- ($1,699) 46- ($1,999) and 52.2-inch ($2,799) screen sizes. Forty-inch models and larger all offer 1080p resolution and 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios. Smaller models have 720p resolution.

Series 4 450 series LCD TVs began shipping in March and feature the 18.9- ($429), 21.9- ($549) 26- ($749), 31.5- ($899), 37- ($1,199) and 39.9-inch ($1,299) screen sizes. All feature 720p resolution.

In plasma, the company is offering Series 6 650 models in the 50- ($2,599), 58- ($3,999) and 63-inch ($4,999) screen sizes. All will include TOC design styling with invisible speaker placement, 1080p resolution, a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio Digital Natural Image Engine (DNIe) Pro 18-bit Natural True Color video processing. Features include Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) interoperability, WiseLink (USB 2.0) JPEG and MP3 support and four HDMI 1.3 inputs.

Series 5 550 plasma models, which began shipping in March, are offered in the 50- ($2,299) and 58-inch ($3,599) screen sizes. Models will offer three HDMI 1.3 inputs, DNIe+ and Natural True Color 18-bit processing, 1080p resolution, and a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.

Samsung said its Series 4 720p plasma displays will have the ability to present 3D content, when viewed with a special emitter and glasses. Samsung will begin distributing the glasses under its own brand as an accessory item this year. Series 4 models, which began shipping in March, include the 42- ($1,199) and 50-inch ($1,699) screen sizes.

Series 6 650 models are offered in the 50- ($1,299), 56- ($1,499), 61- ($1,799) and 72-inch ($2,999) screen sizes. All offer 1080p resolution, 10,000:1 dynamic contrast and feature Cinema Smooth 120Hz frame rate light engines, 3D capability via a separate kit, DNIe image processing, WiseLink (USB 2.0) with MP3 and JPEG playback, and compatibility with Digital Media Adapter technology.

Series 7 750 models are offered in the 61- ($2,099) and 67-inch ($2,499) screen sizes and add Cinema Pure LED 120Hz backlighting. (info from TWICE)

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