For those of us who grew up with the Japanese dominance in the TV market, it is certainly time now to accept that the Koreans are now rightly the masters of this domain. Gone are the days when Samsung and LG were only viewed upon as cheap alternatives to Sony, Panasonic and the like.
Samsung, in particular, has reinvented itself as an outright industry leader in many technology sectors, overcoming challenges from major players such as Apple, Sony, and Panasonic. Ever since the release of the R71 LCD series circa 2005 – 2006, Samsung has grown from strength to strength, in the process gaining an envious reputation for producing TVs which delivered a perfect blend of style, design, and picture quality. As the number one TV brand in Australia at the time of writing, Samsung delivers a wide range of TVs to suit anyone’s budget and requirements.
Plasma TV Line-up
Samsung has scrapped the single regular 43″ HD Plasma model from last years range, not producing a replacement for it this year. They may see that the price gap between an LCD / LED in this size and a plasma screen is now basically so small that it would be easy to swing a customer onto a more energy efficient, higher resolution model for a little more outlay.
There remains, however, the PS51E450. This is a fairly slimline (in plasma terms) 51″ regular HD model, which features 2 HDMI inputs and 1 USB input. It is also wireless ready, for simple media sharing between compatible devices.
Next up in the range is the PS51E531, which is basically a Full HD version of the E450, but without the wi-fi capabilities. This is Samsung’s entry into big screen Full HD. Just like the E450, this model is also only available in a 51″ size.
Above the E531 comes the E550. Along with Full HD 1080P, we get Smart TV capabilities, such as Skype, Web Browser, Samsung Apps, as well as Allshare and 3D Capability. The picture clarity in darker scenes is also improved with the introduction of Micro-Dimming. The HDMI inputs are upped from two to three, and we get an extra USB input as well – totaling two. There is also no need to use a Wireless Dongle, as Wi-Fi is built in. Wi-Fi Direct is also a feature included here, which allows you to transfer media over an ad-hoc WIFI connection without a router. The E550 is available in 51″ and 64″ screen sizes.
The top of the line Plasma from Samsung is the E8000, available only in the larger screen sizes of 60″ and 64″. The 8000 boasts all of the features of the E550, but also comes with a built-in Skype camera, and Voice and gesture control. The smart view is also included in the 8000 series, allowing streaming of free to air content to compatible devices. The USB inputs are upped from two to three, and the internet browsing is made much faster and smoother with the introduction of Dual core processing. The design of the set is also slimmer.
Entry level LED
Samsung has taken the somewhat unconventional and surprising step of producing their entry level LED TVs (read: LCD screen with LED backlighting) with a quite chunky design, especially when compared to offerings from other brands. From what we have seen though the picture quality on all these models is still of a very high standard, and granted the target customer for this range would, in most cases, not be choosing to wall mount the TV or use it as part of an elaborate setup.
The entry level in Samsungs 2012 LED offering is the EH4000 series. Available in 26″ and 32″ sizes, it is a standard 50Hz (Clear Motion Rate 50), High Definition panel. 2 HDMI inputs and 1 USB input are included, and the set is wi-fi ready with the purchase of Samsung’s wi-fi dongle.
Next up the EH4500, available only in 32″ size, gives you Full HD resolution, an extra USB input, and Anynet capability. Smart TV functions are also built in, with features such as Skype, Web Browser, Samsung Apps and Samsungs Allshare Play – a new Cloud service for compatible Samsung products.
The Series five follows, which in 32″ and 40″ sizes is called the EH5006. These sets do not have Smart TV functions like the EH4500 models, but they do boast a Clear Motion Rate (100) which is twice as fast. They also have one less USB input, so only a single USB port is available. This set would be perfect for someone who wants a small set, but watches a lot of sport or action movies – but is not interested in wall mounting the unit or using Smart TV.
The EH6000 is available in a variety of sizes – including 40″, 46″, 55″ and 60″. The motion processor doubles in speed again – up to Clear Motion Rate 200. The other features are identical to those of the EH5006.
Slim LED Lineup
The range which will be most sought after in 2012 will be the Slim LED line-up from Samsung. There are seven model ranges in total, from the 4000 series right up to the top of the line series 8. All fall under the “ES” category.
The entry level Samsung Slimline LED is called the ES4000 series and is available only in a 19″ size. It is a standard 50Hz (Clear Motion Rate 50), High Definition panel. 1 HDMI input and 1 USB input are included, and the set is wi-fi ready with the purchase of Samsung’s wi-fi dongle.
Available in 22″ size only is the ES5000. It gains Full HD resolution and a Clear Motion Rate of 100 over the ES4000.
The next model up is called the ES5500. Available in 32″, 40″ and 46″ sizes, the series gains Samsung Apps, a Web browser, Allshare Play, and is Skype Ready with the purchase of a Samsung Skype camera. It is Wi-Fi ready, via an included Wi-Fi dongle. 3 HDMI inputs and 2 USB inputs are standard – one of which can be used as a PVR with the addition of an external hard drive. It has a Clear motion Rate of 100.
The ES6200 gains 3D capability, a 100Hz processor with Clear Motion Rate 400 and an extra USB input bringing the total up to three. Wi-Fi is built in, with no need for a USB dongle. The ES6200 is available in the widest selection of sizes – 32″, 40″, 46″, 55″ and 60″.
Up next is the ES6800. With all of the features of the ES6200, the extra gains are a Dual Core Processor, a clear Motion Rate of 500, and Micro Dimming. The sizes available in this range are 40″, 46″ and 55″.
Second from the top is the stunning ES7500. The ES7500 boasts all of the Smart TV functions available from Samsung today – Allshare Play, 3D, Samsung Apps, a web browser and Smart View App. Also, Skype and Gesture control via a built-in camera, and Voice Control via a special remote. The Panel itself is also upgraded to Samsung’s Ultra Clear Panel with Anti-Glare, and the Clear Motion Rate is upped to CMR 600, with a refresh rate of 200Hz. The Micro-Dimming processor is also upgraded to Micro-Dimming PRO, and the front bezel is much slimmer than the lower models.
Which brings us to the top of the line, ES8000. The aesthetic makeover is the very first thing you will notice, with a sleek stand replacing the four-pronged stand on the lower models, and the thinnest bezel design of the series. The Clear Motion Rate is the fastest at CMR800, and the Micro-Dimming processor is the most advanced – Micro Dimming Ultimate.
Glossary – New Features Explained
ONE Design – The Samsung Smart TV’s One Design refers to the aesthetics of the TV – an elegant combination of the bezel with the panel creates a seamless visual experience.
3D Auto Contrast – 3D Auto Contrast improves the picture quality in 3D mode, via an automatic 3D depth rendering technology. This results in a sharper contrast for an amazingly crisp 3D image.
ConnectShare™ Movie – the terminology used by Samsung to indicate that the USB input is available to play Movies via an external USB Hard Drive / Thumb Drive.
3D Sound – 3D Sound uses Depth Rendering Technology and Audio Depth Control to Enhance your 3D viewing experience by matching the image depth with the sound.
Ultra Clear Panel – Samsung’s Ultra Clear Panel absorbs external light and reduces reflection, resulting in real, natural colors and a deeper, dynamic detail.
Wide Colour Enhancer Plus – A chipset color enhancer, which via an advanced picture quality improvement algorithm – improves colors and details of any image.
Smart View app – You can watch the same content from your Samsung TV on your compatible Samsung Device, and you can also stream a program from the TV even if someone else is watching different content on the TV. You could be watching a DVD on your TV, while someone else watches a TV program streaming to their mobile device.
Allshare Play – Samsung’s terminology for DLNA – allows compatible devices such as computers, tablets, cameras, or phones to share photos, video and music wirelessly.
Samsung Smart Interaction – allows Motion Control, Face Recognition and Voice Control capabilities to control your Samsung Smart TV.
Samsung Voice Control – Allows tasks such as turning on the TV, changing channels and accessing Samsung and Smart Hub by using your voice via the remote control’s built-in microphone or directly to the Samsung Smart TV.
Samsung Gesture Control – Allows you to interact with your Smart TV with hand movements, to perform tasks such as changing channels, selecting Smart Hub applications and navigating through web pages.
Samsung Facial Recognition – You can log into Smart Hub and Skype by Face recognition through the built-in camera.
Dual Core Processor – The Samsung Dual Core processor allows faster and smoother multitasking between Web Browsing, accessing Samsung Apps and 3D content.