Samsung was able to take bad news and look at it from a different angle at CES 2011. Many analysts moaned about the moderate sales for 3D TVs in 2010, but Samsung noted that 3D’s sales of a bit more than a million were significantly better than the sales figures for LED LCD TVs the year before.
To put its money where its mouth is, the Samsung North American president Tim Baxter says 3D will make up 60 percent of Samsung’s TV lineup.
Highlights of the new lineup include three lines sporting pencil-thin bezels, nearly making the exterior frame of the TV disappear. Both the D8000 and D7000 LED LCD lines have bezels only 0.2 inches thick. The D6500 plasma has a thin bezel, but the selling point of that TV is that Samsung has increased the size of the display area by one inch (making a 50-inch TV into a 51-inch TV) without increasing the overall dimensions of the unit.
The D8000 TVs operate on a 240Hz refresh rate, two millisecond motion picture response time and improved LED backlight scanning. It also includes a local dimming technology called Micro Dimming Plus to enhance black levels. The D8000 has a built-in Wi-Fi connection for Samsung’s Smart Hub portal. The set can connect to other devices using DLNA or Samsung’s One Foot Connection technology which works with a newly launched Wi-Fi router.
All of Samsung’s new 3D TVs will use active shutter glasses, but the company did show the slimmest, active shutter glasses yet.
Samsung also previewed a 75-inch LED LCD TV.
Samsung TV Apps
Apps are thriving on Samsung TVs. At CES 2010, the company announced the first TVs with a built-in app market. Samsung claims there are more than 300 current apps available for its connected TVs, and over 1.5 million have been downloaded so far.
The new web-content feature is called the Smart Hub, and in addition to the large collection of apps, a few new features will appear this year. The most significant is the Search All feature that allows users to search for desired content by name on the TV and other DLNA-certified connected media storage devices, networked PC and mobile devices, and Internet and video-on-demand services. A Your Video feature learns your preferences and makes recommendations based on your prior viewing habits. The system also includes a web browser.
Beyond TVs, the company showed a Smart Fridge - a refrigerator with a built-in Wi-Fi 8-inch touchpanel loaded with apps appropriate for kitchen use, such as a photo viewer, calendar and note pad.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.