Samsung Unmasks Must-See TVs

Samsung will unveil its 2016 range of TVs to media tonight in Auckland but despite UHD or 4K displays dominating, the company’s still holding back on releasing its UHD/4K Blu-ray player here.

It’s also opted not to offer the groundbreaking Atmos soundbar in this market (although its new soundbar range includes 5.1 and 7.1 options with wireless speakers that can also stream music).

“Currently there is no intention to release the HW-K950 in New Zealand,” Samsung’s TV product manager Albert Mostert says. And the same goes for the UBD-K8500 player, which sells for $A600 across the Tasman.

“At this stage, we have chosen not to range the UHD Blu-ray disc player in New Zealand,” Mostert says. “Samsung New Zealand has a range that is suited to its customers and their demands.”

That’s the bad news — the good news is Samsung’s selling its new TVs at launch prices comparable to 2015’s, despite a 20% slump in the dollar.

“We will offer approximately the same number of total models,” Mostert says. “However, the range and size offerings are quite different. For instance, Samsung is focused on UHD and Smart this year with minimal options for Full HD and currently there are no non-Smart options.”

NZ’s top-selling TV brand also leads the market with the number of apps its Smart TVs offer, including two exclusives: Sky’s on-demand sport app, Fan Pass, and PGA Golf.

Not exclusive but unique to Samsung for the time being will be Sky’s Neon service, which joins other streaming services Netflix, Lightbox, YouTube, Plex, YuppTV, Pandora and TuneIn. (The TVNZ OnDemand and 3Now apps will no longer offered as separate Smart Hub apps but through FreeviewPlus.)

3D functionality has been dropped entirely from Samsung’s new models and the evolution kit, which was meant to spare consumers the cost of buying a new TV every time Samsung upgraded its displays, is on the way out, too.

“We still offer the 2015 Tizen upgrade evolution kit for UHD with the intent to release a 2016 Tizen upgrade for Full HD toward the end of this year,” Mostert says.

“We build our technology and solutions to meet the needs of New Zealand consumers, and market demand has indicated that picture quality, design, and user experience have played a greater role in driving purchase decisions than upgrade options. We will continue to assess a range of options for our Kiwi consumers.”

Among this years improvements are: a remote control that’s universal and is compatible with all of Sky’s decoders; an improved Smart Hub for easy navigation of multi-platform sources; and new Ultra Black and HDR technologies, which, combined with Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Dot displays in its premium SUHD range, makes them ideal for the typical “brightly lit” home, Mostert says.

The 2016 NZ launch comes after news of Samsung developing an OLED rival, QLED, it claims will be superior to LG’s eye candy.

In the meantime, top UK critics have been effusive about Samsung’s top SUHD model.

HDTVTest “Highly Recommended” the KS9000, praising its “deeper blacks, larger colour gamut, higher peak brightness, wider viewing angles, less flickery black frame insertion, more effective anti-reflective filter and lower power consumption” over last year’s model.

AVForums was similarly impressed, rating the display 9/10 and acclaiming it as “an effective benchmark against which other edge-lit LED LCD TVs can be judged”.

Full details of the NZ line-up already have been posted online, with pricing for the SUHD range as follows:

KS9500 (Curved SUHD TV with premium design)
55″ – $5,499
65″ – $7,599
78″ – $14,999

KS9000 (Flat SUHD TV with premium design)
55″ – $5,199
65″ – $7,199
75″ – $5,199

KS8500 (Curved SUHD TV with premium design)
55” – $4,699
65” – $6,799

KS8000 (Flat SUHD TV with premium design)
55” – $4,399
60” – $5,399
65” – $6,399

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2 Responses to “Samsung Unmasks Must-See TVs”

  1. Did Samsung mention that the FanPass app is now available on Samsung Smart TVs? And any idea of whether this is another application that is somewhat exclusive to Samsung TVs?

  2. Yes, Mike, both FanPass and PGA Golf will be exclusive built-in apps to Samsung.

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