Samsung’s 3D TVs: Bold and Bright

Samsung’s 3D TV technology arrives in new LED, LCD, and plasma TVs

If you watched the Oscars on Sunday, you knew a new wave of Samsung 3D TVs were coming thanks to the commercial that aired, but you didn't know what you'd have to pay for them. On Tuesday Samsung tore open the envelope and rolled out a raft of 3D-capable LCD, LED and plasma TVs.

At a press event at New York's Time Warner Center, Samsung showed off its first-ever line of 3D LED TVs as well as other additions to its LED, LCD and plasma TV lineups, many of which offer built-in 3D technology. All of Samsung's 3D TVs can be used with its new electronic shutter 3D glasses, 3D Blu-ray players and home theater systems.

As Samsung rolled out 27 LED TVs ranging from 19 to 65 inches, it showed off new technology that brings local dimming--the shutting down of pixels and backlighting in a specific area to enhance blackness--to some of its edge-lit LED TVs. Local dimming had previously been available only in sets with the LED backlight located directly behind the LCD panel, which are necessarily thicker than edge-lit units.

According to a Samsung representative, the edge-lit C8000 (65-inch, $5,000; 55-inch, $3,500) and C6800 (46-inch $2,300; 55-inch, $3,000) series TVs use a "stereo" dimming process in which LEDs at the top, bottom and sides of a dark area in an image are shut off while individual pixels are turned off as well. This is done on the fly by embedded hardware and provides a level of darkening equivalent to backlit models, the representative said. The LED-lit TV line ranges from the conventional 19-inch UN19C4000 ($380) to the 55-inch 3D capable UN55C900 ($7,000).

Also announced was Samsung's new HDTV app store, which will offer about twenty applications for Samsung's Internet-capable TVs by the end of this month. The early offerings will include apps for content from USA Today, Netflix, Pandora, VUDU and others.

Of course 3D TVs are of little use without 3D content and to that end Samsung made note of its expanded alliance with DreamWorks Animation, famous for its "Shrek" and "Monsters" series animated features. Samsung announced that 3D versions of the "Shrek" movies would be available for Samsung TVs later this year. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg attended the press event to help drive in the point.

Samsung's six new ultra-slim C8000 and C7000 series plasma TVs are 3D capable, ranging from the $1,800, 50-inch PN50C7000 to the $3,800 63-inch PN63C8000. Under a current promotion, plasma TV purchasers will receive a free starter kit which includes two Samsung 3D glasses, a 3D version of "Monsters vs. Aliens" from DreamWorks and either a Samsung BD-6900 3D Blu-ray player or a Samsung HT-66930 home theater system. (All plasma, LCD and LED 3D TVs come with at least the glasses and movies package.)

All of Samsung's 3D TVs offer built-in hardware that can render 2D content into 3D. Also added to the plasma line were two units without 3D capability; the 58-inch PN58C6500 ($2,400) and the 50-inch ($1,600) PN50C6500.

The new Samsung LCD TVs run from the 19-inch LN19C350 ($280) to the 3D-capable, 46-inch LN46C750 ($1,700). Most of the smaller units will be available this month while the larger panels won't hit stores until May.

This story, "Samsung’s 3D TVs: Bold and Bright" was originally published by PCWorld.

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