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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

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Samsung launches its first affordable UHDTV
AFP
June 25, 2014
First Published: 10:09 IST(25/6/2014)
Last Updated: 11:14 IST(25/6/2014)
The Samsung HU7250 Series Curved UHD TV. Photo: AFP

The South Korean company seems to be on a mission to create a next-generation TV set to suit absolutely every type of consumer everywhere in the world, and its latest new sets could trigger a price war.

Most experts agree that while ultra-high-definition television may be wonderful, it is still has a long way to travel before it becomes a fixture in most people's living rooms.

For example Netflix, which is a pioneer in this area and is already creating and streaming TV shows in the new format, believes that widespread adoption is still another five years away.

Strategy Analytics predicts that based on its own research, it will take until 2020 for UHD TVs to make up over 40 % of global television shipments (global demand for UHD TVs only surpassed 1 million units for the first time in 2013, driven predominantly by China), by which point 32 % of US homes and 22 % of western European homes will have one.

Yet none of that seems to be dissuading Samsung's all-in push into this still relatively embryonic market, and on Tuesday the brand announced a new 85-inch model plus the creation of two new lines of UHD TV, bringing its offering up to six separate ranges of TV offering flat or curved displays and screens that go from 40- to a gargantuan 110-inches in size.

The new 85-inch flat screen model, the HU8550 Series, will cost $9,999.00 when it goes on sale at the end of the month in the US and will be joined by the new HU7250 series range of curved TVs two months later. They offer screen sizes of 55-inches ($2,199.99) and 65-inches ($3,299.99) and a host of smart and connected features including being able to split the wrap-around screen into four so that several different programs can be viewed simultaneously while also surfing the web or running an app.

However, it's the new HU6950 range, and in particular, the entry-level 40-inch model, that stands the biggest chance of having an impact with consumers.

The Samsung HU7250 Series Curved UHD TV. Photo: AFP

When research and analytics firms poll households about ultra-high-definition the two issues that are most commonly raised are the lack of readily available native content and the high retail prices of branded TV sets.

Like any TV that is branded as being UHD, the HU6950 has to be able to automatically ‘upscale' HD content so that it is closer to UHD, so that's the first issue potentially addressed, and as for the question of price, it will retail for just $999.99, putting it pretty much on a par with the highest specification HD TV sets currently on the market.

"As the UHD TV market leader, we're seeing excellent category growth and adoption among consumers who are looking for the highest resolution and best-in-class picture quality Samsung UHD TVs offer," said Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics America. "We're excited to introduce another super-sized model and two entirely new series to our UHD TV family. Whether it's a flat or curved UHD TV, Samsung continues to provide consumers the broadest selection of UHD TVs for any home."
And as market leader, where Samsung goes, others will follow, and some industry commentators have predicted that 2014 would be the year that one of the major brands -- i.e., Samsung, LG or Sony -- aggressively cuts its prices and that the cut would trigger a mass of competition.


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