South Korean technological giant Samsung has revealed a giant flagship ultra-high-definition range of TVs that will retail at $40,000.
Samsung UHD S9 with Ultra HD Resolution and Timeless Gallery Design stand. Photo: AFP/Samsung
At 85 inches from corner to corner, it is a huge screen for a huge price but Samsung has also confirmed that the UN85S9 is about to be joined by
two bigger brothers -- a 95-inch and a 110-inch model, both of which will be more expensive still.
Samsung claims that the TV is aimed firmly at those consumers "that desire the very best in home entertainment," and that the UN85S9 is packed full of revolutionary new features, chief among which is the ability to take high definition content and upscale it seamlessly into ultra-high definition to fill the vast screen. It can also pump out 120 watts of sound for that cinema-like experience.
Scramble for content
The UN85S9 is an ultra-high definition TV, meaning that it displays images at a resolution four times greater (measured horizontally) than existing high definition content -- such as a Blu-ray disc. Like many other companies that offer similarly technologically advanced TVs, Samsung's range of UHD TVs can stretch and rescale HD content to fill the screen while boosting its native definition enough to enhance the viewing experience. However true ultra-high definition content is very difficult to come by at the moment. Netflix hopes that it can start streaming this type of content within the next two years, and Japan has set itself a deadline of the 2014 World Cup Final as its date for starting UHD broadcasts.
Samsung to an extent is brushing over this particular problem -- who would buy a games console for which no games existed? -- not simply by highlighting the set's upscaling technology but by pointing to a myriad of other features the TV boasts. These include gesture and voice controls and access to Samsung Hub, a servive that allows users to access multimedia content from Samsung. It's a list of features that Business Insider's Jay Yarow describes as "lots of other crap you'll never use."
Still even with a price tag of $40,000 Samsung will probably find interest. In January, LG reported that its comparatively cheap $22,000 80-inch flagship UHDTV had seen sharp sales of 300 units in South Korea. Furthermore, Digitimes research published in January suggests that by the end of 2014, global sales of UHDTVs could pass the 10 million mark, despite their high price tags, humongous screens and lack of native content.
And, while it is currently by far the most expensive UHD TV on the market, Samsung has a long way to go if it wants to overtake Stuart Hughes. His luxury gadgets include a PrestigeHD Supreme Rose Edition TV which, although lacking in Samsung's technological knowhow offers more than enough 18k rose gold, 28kg to be exact, to overcome its lack of ultra-high definition credentials. The price? $2.6 million.