updated 09:30 pm EST, Wed January 7, 2009
Samsung TVs at CES 2009
Samsung on Wednesday overhauled its TV range with both altogether new models as well as updates to existing sets. At the top, the new 6000, 7000 and 8000 series LCD sets are all dependent on LED backlights and so have much higher contrast ratios than fluorescent-lit TVs; Samsung hasn't published numbers but in previous generations has managed 1,000,000:1. They all also have built-in Internet access and, on the 7000 and 8000 models, use the new Internet@TV service to access content news and media from Yahoo, including Flickr, as well as YouTube streaming videos. 6000 models get Samsung's InfoLink service that supplies news through RSS feeds.
All of the top-end TVs are just over an inch thick and carry USB ports. The 8000 series separates itself from the 7000 by using a faster-responding 240Hz LCD panel versus the 120Hz panels on the more affordable models. Screen sizes, ship dates and prices are all unknown.
The veteran 6 and 7 series LCDs stay intact with their older backlight technology but have been upgraded in panel speed and Internet features. The 7 series gets a 240Hz panel and a 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter while the 6 in larger sizes gets a more common 120Hz unit; both have access to Internet@TV in most cases. The 6 ranges between 19 and 55 inches while 7 series TVs focus on the larger spectrum and range from 40 inches to 52. Either lineup will be available within the first half of the year with prices to be set later.
Plasmas also get an update through upgrades to the 6 and 8 series. Both now carry Internet@TV and support DLNA media sharing with computers and other devices over a local wireless network. They should also be more color-accurate and cover 110 percent of the color space for official HD specs. The 8 at slightly more than one inch thick is also labeled as the thinnest plasma to still include a built-in ATSC TV tuner rather than put it into an outside box. As with the LED TVs, Samsung again doesn't mention sizes, release dates or prices.