Samsung Kicks Off SUHD Product Lineup
Samsung formally kicked off its spring 2015 audio/video product launch at Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room Thursday by unveiling its flagship JS9500 SUHD curved LED LCD TV line, featuring an expanded color gamut, wide dynamic range support and new Tizen-based SmartHub operating system.
The occasion also provided the opportunity to officially release pricing and ship dates of the LCD-LED SUHD TVs, along with an expanded selection of curved LCD-LED UHD TVs, new flat LED UHD TVs and curved soundbars.
More importantly, Samsung used the event to plant its flag atop the rapidly evolving Ultra HDTV category by bringing out the chairman of the new multi-industry Ultra HD Alliance that Samsung spearheaded. The “64-times” expanded color characteristics of the JS9500 TV line (from last year’s TV line) was further underscored by testimony from a color-perception expert from New York City’s heralded Parson’s School of Design.
More on Samsung’s gala TV product launch and product pricing after the jump:
Facing a mounting challenge from rival LG Electronics, which remains the only manufacturer of 4K Ultra HD OLED TVs in 2015, Dave Das, Samsung senior VP of TV marketing, declared Samsung’s JS9500 Nanocrystal-based LED LCD TV series sets to present “the widest dynamic range of any TV available” in addition to “the color, the brilliance, that only Samsung can deliver.”
Samsung’s SUHD TVs also feature LED local dimming technology that minimizes the loss of detail in deep black areas of a picture, improves contrast, and produces what the company said are the deepest blacks currently available without loss of detail.
“We’ve been the No. 1 television manufacturer for the past nine years, and in the UHD category alone nearly half of all televisions sold are Samsung’s,” Das said. “Along with our partners on the content, post processing and delivery side, Samsung has virtually created the UHD category.”
Earlier in the day, Samsung presented a demonstration led by a team of Imaging Science Foundation calibration experts to talk to TV reviewers about how to properly set up and measure the new class of SUHD TVs in order to account for the new color and dynamic range metrics of new generation 4K Ultra HD TVs.
The flagship JS9500 series TV was measured as covering 93 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiative’s P3 color gamut recommendations for professional movie theater projectors, said David Mackenzie, ISF calibration expert. In addition, the TVs are capable of outputting up to 1,000 nits of brightness for peak highlights, which is in part the reason they have been selected as reference monitors for a number of Hollywood production houses.
“SUHD TV captivates the high in a whole new way,” Das said of the TVs’ ability to turn visual experiences into emotional ones. “It’s the beginning of a whole new relationship between the TV and viewer.”
Tom Bosket, Parson’s School of Design, assistant professor and coordinator of general studio and graphic design, said that Samsung’s SUHD TVs touch all of the key points in associating emotion with color – hue, value and chroma. For color hue, Samsung’s SUHD TVs produce, “the broadest spectrum I have seen on a TV, for value the stunning sparkle of whites and deep blacks of SUHD and for chroma, the incredible depth of contrast we can immediately feel in our bodies.” Bosket said.
Hanno Basse, 20th Century Fox chief technology officer and chairman of the new UHD Alliance, took the stage to announce that the UHD Alliance is in the process of creating a certification system to let consumers easily know that a next-generation television display has been optimized to deliver the new values of color, bit depth and high dynamic range that studios will soon begin to encode in programming delivered to the home. He said UHD Alliance certifications will help buyers quickly see which TVs “meet or exceed” the body’s definitions of excellence.
The UHD Alliance is in the process of gathering the input from key Hollywood and the CE industry members to help determine some of the next-generation standards and specifications that will be recommended for formal adoption by standards-setting organizations for next-generation 4K Ultra HDTV.
Das told HD Guru that in pushing for the formation of the UHD Alliance Samsung “was concerned about ensuring a certain level of quality of the 4K experience in the consumer’s home, all the way through the value chain regardless of whether it is a Samsung set or not.”
Alliance members today include major content producers and distributors including Fox, Warner, Disney, Netflix, DirecTV and manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic among others.
“It’s an open alliance, so everyone is invited to join and participate,” Das said. “The goal is that the consumer sees as closely as possible the image the director intended and what they could see in the theater, on their TV at home.”
As shown at January’s International CES, Samsung’s spring product release features 29 TVs, four curved soundbars, and a wireless speaker. Some models have already started shipping, while others are slated for delivery this month and later in the spring.
The SUHD TV lineup, featuring expanded color capabilities and wide dynamic range, includes six curved-screen models in three series with screen sizes ranging from 48 to 88 inches and two flat-screen models in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.
All of Samsung’s UHD smart TVs incorporate the company’s proprietary Tizen OS. Tizen incorporates an octacore processor, an intuitive user interface, and a Quick Connect feature that allows easy wireless connection to select Samsung mobile devices presenting a second-screen experience. Content can be shared between Samsung smartphones or tablets and the TV by pressing one button.
In its flagship series, Samsung showed only its 65-inch 65JS9500 model although a second 88-inch version has been listed. The models offer: Full Array LED backlight with hundreds of local dimming zones, High Dynamic range (HDR) with a peak brightness of nearly 300 ft. lamberts (1000 nit peak) with meta data detection of HDR content (to be found in select UHD Blu-ray discs and 4K streaming services that will be arriving toward the end of the year). Samsung calls it Peak Illuminator Ultimate. Blue LEDs drive what Samsung refers to as Nano Crystals (other TV makers call them Quantum dots) for expanded color gamut that creates colors close to the Digital Cinema Imitative (DCI) color space. The JS9500 will display the wider range of colors accurately by using the metadata that will be imbedded in UHD Blu-ray discs and select 4K streaming services.
10-bit LCD panels are incorporated this year, the JS9500s will detect 10-bit content and send it intact to the display.
The JS9500s use a recessed silver “chamfered bezel”.
The central processor for the JS9500 is an 8 core model Samsung calls OctoCore. It drives a new graphic user interface and a new Tizen operating system.
Carry-over features from the 2014 HU9000 include a curved screen, Smart TV, OneConnect Box (for future signal processing and tuner upgrades), built-in HDTV camera for Skype and facial recognition and a voice control remote.
A list of models with pricing under Samsung’s minimum unilateral pricing program (UPP) follows:
Samsung UN88JS9500 Curved 88-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV
Retail $6500 Now $5997.99, available this month, Amazon direct
Samsung UN78JS9100 Curved 78-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV
Retail $3500 Now $3,497.99 via Amazon
Retail $4000 Now $3,997.99 via Amazon
Retail $5999 UPP Now $4997.99 Abt via Amazon
Retail $3000 Now $2997.99 via Amazon
Retail $5000 Now $3997.99 via Amazon
Retail $2500 Now $1997.99 Electronic Express via Amazon
Retail $3800 Now $2797.99 Abt via Amazon
Retail $2200 Now $1797.99 DataVision via Amazon
Retail $1400 Now $1147.99 Amazon direct
Retail $7000 Now $5997.99 Video & Audio Center via Amazon
Retail $2800 Now $2297.99 Abt via Amazon
Retail $3800 Now $2997.99 Beach Camera via Amazon
JU7500 Series (Curved Screen) ships in April and includes: 120 Hz refresh, LED edge-lit with precision black local dimming, wide color enhancer plus, peak illuminator, Mini One Connect Box with 4 HDMI inputs (1 MHL), Wi-Fi, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Instant, HBOGO, Active 3D (1 pr. glasses includes), 40 watts total audio power.
Model Screen Size UPP Prices
JU7100 Series (Flat Screen) models feature 120 Hz refresh rates, LED edge-lit with precision black local dimming, wide color enhancer plus, peak illuminator, Mini One Connect Box with 4 HDMI inputs (1 MHL), Wi-Fi, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Instant, HBOGO, Active 3D, 20 watts total audio power
Model Screen Size UPP Prices
JU6700 Series (Curved Screen) will be available this spring with 60 Hz refresh, LED edge-lit w/micro dimming, 4 HDMI inputs, Wi-Fi, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Instant, HBOGO, 20 watts total audio power
Model Screen Size UPP Prices
JU6500 Series (Flat Screen) will be available this spring with 60 Hz refresh, LED edge-lit w/micro dimming, 4 HDMI inputs, Wi-Fi, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Instant, HBOGO, 20 watts total audio power
Model Screen Size UPP Prices
Samsung is also adding a line of curved sound bars, matching the styling of its curved screen TVs. This year the line has been expanded to four models, from last year’s lone model. All but one of the 2015 soundbars will connect via Wi-Fi to Samsung’s wireless multiroom-audio network, which includes Wi-Fi speakers starting at $199. The top-of-the-line soundbar will support 192kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio playback.
In addition, all of the sound bars have high-frequency audio restoration technology for compressed-audio playback, multiple amplifiers with active crossovers to drive anywhere from 6.1 to 9.1 drivers, MAG Woofer technology, wireless subwoofer, HDMI, Dolby and DTS 5.1, and TV Sound Connect, which connects the soundbars via Bluetooth to Samsung TVs.
Curved soundbar models include the following:
Samsung W-J6000 Curved Wireless Audio Soundbar
Retail $499, available now, sized to match Samsung’s 48- and 55-inch curved TVs.
Samsung HW-J6500 Curved Wireless Audio Soundbar
Retail $549, available this month, sized to match 48- and 55-inch curved TVs.
Retail $950.00 Now $797.9, Matches 55- and 65-inch curved TVs, adds side-firing speakers.
Retail $6299.99 Now $1297.99. Matches 65- and 78-inch curved TVs, adds center-channel driver and bigger subwoofer.
By Greg Tarr
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