It's no longer just about 4K; Samsung's 2016 lineup of QuadHD TVs boast not only a high pixel count, but a technology capable of producing much brighter and cleaner colors, a revamped interface and remote, and the ability to control all your smart home devices from the screen itself. Available now, we took a first look at Samsung's 2016 SUHD TVs, which start at $1,499.
Samsung's TVs use what's called Quantum Dot technology to produce colors. Tiny particles that are between 2 and 8 nanometers in size produce white light that has stronger peaks at the blue, green, and red spectrums, which allow the sets to produce not only clearer and brighter colors, but do so more efficiently than other types of panels.
For its new TVs, a redesigned user interface pulls in content from Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and other sources, including Dish, Time Warner, Comcast, and DirecTV. The TVs will also recognize any device you plug into it--such as a Blu-ray player or Xbox--and automatically configure its remote control to work with that device. The interface is completely customizable, and will surface your favorite content.
Speaking of the remote, it's a lot more futuristic than your traditional clicker. It has a minimalist look, in some ways similar to the original Apple TV remote, with very few buttons, and a circular d-pad in the middle. The remote also has a microphone built in, which lets you perform voice searches.
But more than just being something to get your Netflix binge on, Samsung is looking to make its TVs the center of your connected home. Starting this summer, its new Series 7, 8, and 9 TVs will have the SmartThings hub built right in, which will enable you to control smart home devices, such as connected locks and lights, right from your TV.
Although we weren’t overly impressed with any smart home hub, we found Samsung’s SmartThings to be the best of the bunch. The hubs installed in the TVs won’t be much different from the standalone second-gen SmartThings hub, but it’ll be one less thing to plug into your router. Plus, if you have a connected security camera, you’ll be able to watch its feed right on your TV.
Unfortunately, in order to turn the new TVs into a smart home hub, you'll need the SmartThings Extend, a small dongle that connects to the back of the TV and enables the smart hub. While it's free, it won't be included in the box with the TV itself; rather, consumers will have to send away for it. Samsung is also looking to bundle the dongle with other smart home products at retailers.
Not surprisingly, these TVs won't come cheap. The Samsung KS8000, which has a flat display, will be available in a 55-inch model for $1,799, and in a 65-inch model for $2,799. Starting in May, it will be available in a 49-inch model for $1,499, and a 60-inch model for $2,299.
The KS8500 4K SUHD Curved TV is now available now in a 55-inch model for $1,999 and a 65-inch model for $2,999. A 49-inch model will be available in May for $1,699.
The KS9000 4K SUHD TV (which is a flat panel) is available now in a 55-inch model for $2,299, and a 65-inch model for $3,499. A 75-inch model will be available in early June for $6,499.
Lastly, the Samsung KS9500 Curved SUHD TV is available now in a 55-inch model for $2,499 and a 65-inch model for $3,699. A 78-inch model will be available in early June for $7,999.