Samsung’s new 2013 TV range, including its first Ultra HD LED panel, is being targeted at three major trends identified by the South Korean market leader.
Also known as 4K, Ultra HD has a resolution of 3,820 x 2,160, making it four times as vivid as Full HD.
Speaking to Appliance Retailer in advance of the company’s major home entertainment product showcase at The Star in Sydney, Samsung director – AV, Brad Wright, said the new TVs would be the benchmark for style, size and smarts.
“There are three key trends we are seeing in TV that explain the changes Samsung has implemented for the 2013 range of Samsung Smart TVs,” Wright said.
“First, people are demanding larger screen sizes. Just a few years ago, a ‘large screen’ TV might have been a 32-inch TV. These days, the 55-inch TV has become almost standard, accounting for more than 28 percent of the market spend.
“Secondly, the TV has become an integral part of the living room. Gone are the times when the TV was hidden in a cupboard. These days, people see the TV as part of their design identity.
“And thirdly, people are expecting more from their TVs: more content, a better picture, more connectivity. And it’s a fact that Smart TV is now emerging from being a niche category into the mainstream of the TV market.”
The flagship model in Samsung’s new range is the S9, first unveiled at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas. In a sign of how quickly the market moves, the veil was first lifted on this TV just 99 days ago. Furthermore, it was only seven months ago that Samsung launched its ES9000 model, a $9,499 TV that was “the very high end of the spectrum”, according to Wright at the time.
That model has now been completely superseded by the S9 — an incredible television that comes equipped with its own furniture for optimal viewing.
“Samsung’s S9 combines brilliant picture quality with a modern, minimalistic and timeless gallery design to offer a completely immersive, vivid viewing experience,” Wright said.
By working with Macquarie University, Samsung believes it has perfected the art of listening to the Australian accent and understanding the local vernacular — a common problem for Siri and other voice recognition programs.
“Consumers can ask the TV when the next must-see movie is about to start; ask it to make a recommendation about what TV show they should watch; find out what’s on starring their favourite actor or actress; and even get some great ideas on restaurants in their area,” explained Wright, who noted that the S9 can understand around 300 commands.
Other Smart features of the 85-inch S9 include social media feeds, YouTube, Skype, web browsing, third party apps and integrated sports content.
To make up for the lack of native Ultra HD content, the S9 also includes upscaling to convert compatible movies and programming to the much higher resolution.
All of this adds up to a convincing, if at times complex, in-store narrative for retailers, Wright said.
“Ultra High Definition is a statement piece of technology — it is not the same old thing — it is something else.
“It is a change in format from the current 1080p environment. It’s a change that’s needed as the market demands bigger and bigger television screens.
“The S9 is an innovative television which requires a non-traditional market approach to sell. As the market moves back to primary viewing applications like TV shows, movies and sport, a big screen experience is important to create the ultimate social scene with your friends and family.”
The Samsung S9 is due in June for “around $40,000”.
Samsung S9 in its bespoke Gallery stand.