Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-12-14, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014

Samsung obviously isn’t bashful about curves. Last year the electronics giant unveiled the world’s first curved display at CES 2013. Now, it’s chips are on the table – all in – as it unveiled quite a few curved displays at CES 2014. But before we dive into specifics on that front, let’s review Samsung’s utter dismissal of plasma on the show floor. Several weeks ago, our end of the year review highlighted Panasonic’s long awaited cancellation of its vaunted plasma line, which has left LG and Samsung as the two final plasma dominos (both of which appear to be primed to fall). It’s entirely impossible not to cringe as plasma fades in the rearview mirror, but perhaps the technology’s departure is for good reason. CNET’s television guru David Katzmaier recently detailed a conversation he had with a Samsung contact who divulged that Samsung will likely remove plasma from its arsenal in the not too distant future. His reasoning? Simple dollars and cents; LCD technology is proving to be cheaper to produce in the 4K realm than plasma. The cost to produce 4K sets and dealing with energy consumption requirements are reportedly two of the primary reasons Panasonic decided to throw in the towel on their future plasma production aspirations, so it’s not a huge surprise Samsung is arriving at a similar juncture. Samsung isn’t bowing out quite yet, however, and is maintaing that they will unveil several new plasma displays during 2014.


Now, back to the curves and Samsung’s bendable – yes, you read that correctly: bendable – Ultra Hi-Definition (UHD) television. First, let’s address the curved nature of Samsung’s sets. They claim that the curvature of the screen provides viewers with “a greater sense of depth and a 3D effect without the glasses.” Time will tell how this plays-out in homes across the country, especially considering that consumers have designed their living spaces around giant flat panels, investing time and resources into mounting them on walls and above mantels. The viability of putting curved sets in similar locations remains to be seen.

With much glitz and glamour, Samsung rolled out two novel UHD TVs at CES: a 105-inch curved monster and the 85-inch bendable screen.

“Given the tremendous media and industry reception for these new products, we are excited to bring our 105-inch Curved UHD TV and 85-inch Bendable UHD TV to consumers around the world,” said HS Kim, executive vice president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics. “People who are passionate about entertainment will have a whole new way to experience the content they love with these exciting new models that showcase exceptional design and UHD picture quality.”

The U9500 Curved UHD TV is the world’s largest Curved UHD TV, sporting a tantalizing 21X9 aspect ratio and 11 million pixels. For reference, typical flat panel displays are a 16X9 aspect ratio, while 21X9 is more commonly seen in theaters (most will recognize it designated as 2.35:1). Samsung has included a proprietary technology with the set called “Auto Depth Enhancer” that company says delivers a deep, lifelike, image. The set’s curvature is fixed, however, but the same can’t be said of the smaller 85-inch U9B Bendable UHD TV. The U9B is a bit of a hybrid. Owners can choose to watch it as a tradition flat panel or – with the touch of a button – rely on a motorized bendy transformation into a curved set. Both TVs are LED based sets.

In addition to these sets, Samsung provided details on a new line of curved UHD sets (dubbed the U9000 series) with three sizes: 55, 65, and 78-inches. Samsung will also offer a line of traditional flat panel UHD designs in their U8550 series. Four U8550 sizes will be offered: 55, 60, 65, and 75-inches. Again, these are LCD based televisions.

One of the concerns about last year’s UHD TVs was the lack of HDMI 2.0 and overall compatibility with future UHD technologies or hook-ups. Samsung’s 2014 Ultra HD line-up answers many of those questions by supporting HEVC, HDMI 2.0, MHL 3.0 and HDCP 2.2. But is that enough? Can you trust that writing an early adopter check for mega-bucks and getting a set that supports those standards will be enough to walk far into the future without hiccups? Samsung has you covered with a UHD Evolution Kit, which is an external box that houses the brains of the television. This box can be swapped out with new boxes as technologies change. Voila: Future-proof (or so it seems). That’s a showroom salesperson’s dream add-on, making it nearly impossible for customers to argue about the long term viability of the pricey UHD displays Samsung would like to see in their homes.

Samsung hasn’t released pricing on these products, but will in the coming months.

Image Credit: Samsung

Last edited by Todd Anderson; 01-12-14 at 05:47 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-13-14, 07:05 PM
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Re: Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014

I see this being more of a novelty than 3D and it appears the industry is putting 3D on the out. Which happens to be disappointing. I think this implementation would have some real impact in the computer monitor department for gaming. I don't see this taking off, and being fazed out rather quickly do to lack of market demand. How weird would one of these look on a wall mount

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post #3 of 5 Old 01-14-14, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014

ESPN dropping their 3D channel was incredibly damaging to the viability of 3D on television in US markets..at least for the time being. Manufacturers are all racing to be King of UHD, and 3D has taken a back seat. Interestingly, the buzz is more about 4K than the technology that delivers it (LCD vs OLED), although once 4K is is better established the technology war will come come front and center.

Don't be surprised if 3D makes a return once 4K is well established.

I don't believe that the fixed-cureved televisions are wall mountable (at least not at the moment). Perhaps the bendable TV is...but I'd have to agree with you: The curved set (even if its design has science behind it) seems to be a gimmick. Ultimately the consumer will vote with their wallets...in the meantime, Samsung is covering all of its bases.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-23-14, 07:31 AM
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Re: Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014

If I had the money, I'd love a curved display in the corner of my basement with two couches facing it on an angle. I thought about it with the projector, but it just gets too complicated.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-23-14, 07:33 AM
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Re: Flat, Curves, and Bends: Samsung UHD TVs at CES 2014

Let me restate that - if the cost was the same I would do it, but I wouldn't spend a whole lot more.
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