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Samsung rebrands its high-end 4K TVs SUHD for 2015

Nanocrystal semiconductors apparently produce better colours than the competition - but you'll have to pay a premium for them

Samsung always like to talk big about its latest TVs, but it’s gone one step further at this year’s CES show; the company revealed a new premium brand at its press conference, reserved for the creme de la creme of Samsung TV; SUHD. Three models, the JS9500, JS9000 and JS8500, will be launching in a range of sizes from 48in to 88in, each with SUHD branding. A 105in, bendable prototype is also on the cards. 

As the name implies, the new line-up focuses purely on 4K Ultra HD resolution panels, but held to a higher standard than the existing range. Samsung says the S in SUHD stands for Smart, Style, Superb and Spectacular. But is it pure marketing fluff? Well, yes and no. 

We’re inclined to agree about Smart; all three new models will arrive with Samsung’s latest Tizen Smart TV interface, which was developed in-house with connectivity and second screen support firmly in mind. As well as a simpler, streamlined interface, users wil be able to automatically pick up a video they were watching on their smartphone on the big screen, with a single button press. It will also arrive with PlayStation Now game streaming, once paired with a DualShock controller via Bluetooth.

Stylish will always be subjective, particularly when the style Samsung is referring to is a curve. There’s no escaping the fact that curved TVs are here to stay, but not everyone likes the angled shape and sweet spot visuals. At least the bezels are razor-thin and the stands are thinner than ever, built with a combination of metals and shapes.

The most important thing for SUHD will be picture quality. Out of the box, SUHD TVs should have more than twice the brightness of a traditional LCD TV, along with deeper blacks, but despite the company’s bluster and bravado at the press conference we’ll withold judgment until we’ve seen one side by side with an OLED TV before deciding which is best.

Samsung says it has switched to nanocrystal semiconductors to produce better colours, while on the software side calibrators now have access to double the number of colour adjustment points to perfect the image with enough tweaking. This is basically quantum dot technology, the same process used by rivals Sony and LG in their LCD TVs. Until we see them side by side, it’s unclear whether Samsung’s version justifies the name change.

Finally, a remastering algorithm will analyse image brightness and automatically reduce power draw as well as boost colours and contrast. The company even brought out representatives from 20th Century Fox to sing SUHD’s praises, but unlike HDR TV (which falls under the UHD Alliance), SUHD isn’t a standard but a name for image quality settings. Whether it will pick up traction remains to be seen.

Either way we’ll be taking a look at all of Samsung’s new TVs as soon as the CES show doors open tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back for our first impressions.

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