Samsung has redesigned its smart remote for 2014. It offers voice, motion, and direct control as before, but with enhanced usability. The Smart Hub feature it controls now will let you surf the web as you watch TV and multitask in a split screen mode. Manufacturers have determined that most TV viewers are surfing the web on their computers and/or using their smart phones to talk, text, or surf as they watch TV. The show was alive with redesigned Internet TV features to satisfy this increasingly ADD social trend.
I tried to get a glimpse of Samsung’s curved 105-inch 2.35:1 widescreen TV on the show floor, but in the Samsung booth was packed and the area around the set inaccessible. But I got a later look at a closed-room Samsung demo. On the left here, to provide a size perspective, is Samsung’s Mike Wooda one-time regular at Home Theater who has now forsaken balmy Southern California for the cold, windswept snowdrifts of the Garden State, where Samsung has its U.S. headquarters. On the right is current Sound & Vision editor in chief Rob Sabin.
A casual glance at the Samsung HL-S5679 rear projection television might suggest that it is just another new 1080p set. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but the market is now flooded with them. Some are indifferent, some are good, and a very few are outstanding. But another television with a screen, lens, small imaging chip of some sort, and projection lamp isn't exactly news, particularly in our current, flat-panel-happy marketplace.
Flat panels. Everyone, it seems, wants a flat panel television these days. Not to hang on the wall mind you—studies show that most buyers use them on a stand—but because they're, well, <I>cool</I>.
Price: $1,700 Highlights: The price is right • Accurate color • Crisp, dimensional image with excellent resolution • Poor black level and shadow detail
At 61 inches diagonal, the Samsung is the smaller member of this two-set match-up, but it’s still considerably larger than most comparably priced flat panels. Also, like the Mitsubishi, you’ll be surprised at how light it feels. Even better, the price will also be light on your wallet.
The set provides an adequate number of inputs, including a WiseLink port—Samsung’s name for the USB connection that lets you view JPEG photos, listen to MP3 audio files, and input possible future firmware upgrades.
Samsung went all Opra on us with it's sit-down, let's talk press conference. They announced that one million 3DTVs were sold in the US in 2010, well under predictions but ahead of the rate that many other new technologies have achieved in their first year. About 35 million TVs are sold in the US each year, however, so that's actually a pretty small percentage. Nevertheless Samsung claimed a 70% market share of 3DTV sales, and this year 3DTVs make up 60% of the company's new HD lineup.
Samsung is going with the flow in using "Smart" as a catch phrase this year for many of its products. The company expects to sell 6 million 3DTVs this year, two thirds of them Smart TVs. The new gee-whiz feature in the D7000 and D8000 sets is an ultra thin frame, barely 0.2" wide (see photo). In addition, Samsung's new active 3D glasses sport an ultra svelt, and it's said far more comfortable design.
Samsung's new BDD 7500 3D Blu-ray player is as ultra thin as the new TVs, and incorporates its own built-in 2D-to-3D conversion.
Samsung has been pushing hard to improve LCD flat panel televisions. Though the company still makes plasmas, its LCD R&D department, judging from the cutting edge technology demonstrated at last January's CES, must be busy. With 120Hz operation, segmented illumination of the image, and LED backlighting, LCD technology at Samsung is big priority.
Big things are happening with LCD flat panel televisions. New developments like LCD motion lag compensation and LED backlighting, manufacturers are attacking some of the well-known shortcomings of that technology.