Samsung Unveils ‘Direct-Lit' TV Line

March 7, 2012

Samsung formally unveiled at a press reception here Tuesday its 2012 TV lineup, but despite all of the advanced new technologies, a lineup of new midline "direct-lit" LED LCD TVs may have the biggest impact on TV unit sales in the year ahead.

Samsung Tim Baxter 
Samsung president Tim Baxter presents the Samsung Smart Hub interface available on many 2012 Smart TVs.

The new direct-lit LED TVs are part of Samsung's "EH" model assortment, in screen sizes from 26 to 65 inches across four model series, all designed to give consumers a cost-effective alternative to less energy efficient Cold Cathode Fluorescent (CCFL) based LCD TVs on mainstream selling floors.

Dave Das, Samsung TV product marketing VP, said the new direct-lit EH LED TVs will serve as a stepping stone between a narrowed assortment of entry CCFL models and higher performing "Slim Line" LED LCD TVs that use an edge-lighting approach that affords thinner panel depths and further improvements to picture performance.

All of the EH models will offer better power efficiency than their CCFL counter parts, as well as improved brightness and contrast, while offering roughly the same panel depth as those entry units.

Meanwhile, Samsung once again demonstrated the unusual speech/gesture/face recognition control system, called Smart Interaction, that is included in the ES8000 and ES7500 LED/LCD TV series, as well as the PNE8000 plasma series. The system is controlled by new dual-core processors included in each set.

Smart Interaction will enable users to control simple set functions by speaking, moving their hands, or showing themselves to the system's built-in cameras to activate a Facebook page (for example).

A feature called Smart Evolution offers a CPU and memory module in a set-back box, which will allow purchasers to upgrade their sets to the latest features as they are developed through 2016. The pricing on the box was not disclosed.

The flagship LED line also features an ultra-slim "One Design" bezel, first introduced by Samsung in 2011, along with a new matching U-shape stand that makes the TV look almost weightless. The ES8000 will also be available in the 46-, 55- and 60-inch screen sizes with a 65-inch model coming later in the year (seeing pricing and availability below).

Samsung will include Micro Dimming technology in a variety of levels this year, starting in the ES6600 Slim-LED models and up. The step-up ES7500 has Micro Dimming Pro technology that is said to add color and detail enhancements to the image using video processing, while a Micro Dimming Ultimate feature in ES8000 series models will analyze the picture to optimize the LED backlight and video signal in real time.

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