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Samsung expands Ultra HD range and promises content support

Seth Barton
7 Jan 2014
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More models, more series and more content. Ultra HD is going big this year

The highlight of Samsung’s CES press conference was undoubtedly the short, but disastrous, appearance of Michael Bay, whose malfunctioning autocue provoked him into walking off stage mid presentation. The reason for his (short) appearance came a close second though, with a full range of new Ultra HD TV sets to be launched this year.

Samsung Ultra HD

A largely predictable outing was spiced by a faulty autocue, unfortunately it was guest Michael Bay who was tripped up

The new TVs include both curved and flat displays across three separate ranges. Though the majority fall under the U8550 and U9000 ranges. The Samsung U8550 Series UHD TVs come in 50in, 55in, 60in, 65in and 75in screen sizes – a pretty comprehensive line-up for 4K models. The U9000 Series Curved UHD TVs come in 55in, 65in and 78in sizes. Add in a few monster TVs and Samsung has 11 models on offer in total.

Samsung Ultra HD

Samsung is looking to Ultra HD to invigorate the TV market and provide some profit margins in what is a very competitive area

That means the company is serious about pushing Ultra HD TV this year, which does leave it with one not insignificant problem, providing 4K content for all these TVs are to display. It did announce a range of partnerships with content providers, with a UHD Video Pack of films from 20th Century Fox and Paramount available to purchase on a hard disk, plus 4K content deals with providers including Amazon and Netflix.

Samsung Ultra HD

Samsung adressed the content issue but we're not yet convinced

The UHD Video Pack will include 50 items spread throughout 2014, though the promotional material we saw at the event appeared to suggest these would largely be older film titles – only time will tell. Beyond that numbers were thin on the ground and until we see a 4K Blu-ray format established we doubt we’ll see enough 4K content to justify the huge prices these sets demand.

All the sets are certainly fully equipped though to take any content available. They all support HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 and have built-in HEVC decoders. Plus, with external boxes that house all the key image input and processing components, they can always be upgraded should this fledging format gain new standards.

Samsung Ultra HD

Samsung certainly look to have thought through Ultra HD for this year, but could it still be the next 3D?

We’ll be getting our hands on all the new Samsung TVs tomorrow on the stand at CES 2014, checking out the new smart TV interface and features, so come back to get the full in-depth hands on.

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