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SECTIONS / TVS & LARGE DISPLAY

Samsung Join The Top End Goodies Club

By David Richards | Thursday | 18/04/2013

The car industry has their Ferrari's and Aston Martins now the consumer electronics industry has an Ultra High Definition TV that enthusiasts can drool over.

The car industry has their Ferrari's and Aston Martins now the consumer electronics industry has an Ultra High Definition TV that enthusiasts can drool over.

Last night at a star studded event in Sydney Samsung launched a $40,000 84" Ultra High Definition 4K TV which is upgradable for at least the next five years due to the introduction of a unique technology upgrade kit that plugs into the back of the TV delivering the latest display standards, processors and voice and gesture upgrades.

The new TV also has a voice engine that recognises an Australian accent thanks to the linguistic experts at Macquarie University.

Despite the price tag the new TVs are already proving popular with Samsung already taking orders for the top end TV which will only be sold at select dealers.

At last night's event Samsung demonstrated that "size really matters", as the evening's compere told the gathered throng with some claiming that the 85 inch screen was a little excessive, perhaps, for many Australian living rooms.

Philip Newton VP of Consumer Electronics dispelled this myth telling journalists had offered to pay $100,000 for one of Samsung's 100" TV's used to display Samsung technology at a CES event. 

For those looking for a more modest deal there is also 55-, 60- and 65-inch F8000 models for those with slightly smaller living rooms in their Point Piper, Mornington Peninsula or Peppermint Grove shacks; prices range from $9999 down to $1499.

Samsung smart-telly buyers - even those with more modest e-wallets - will be able to call up content from the world's major studios as well as Foxtel, Quickflix, catch-up TV for SBS, ABC, Yahoo7! and Channel 10, Samsung announced. A "smart hub" display, along with asking the Aussie personal assistant questions such as "Is there a good thriller on TV tonight", brings up multiple choices, displayed in separate windows.

Actually there's no need to speak at all. With some models, users can discard the voice-operated remote and simply wave a paw at the multi-windowed display, Kinect style, to indicate the show they want to see or record.

Samsung appears to be taking a strong position in the growing smart-TV market Down Under, also contested by the likes of LG, Panasonic and Sony. In answer to one question, Philip Newton, Samsung Australia's consumer electronic VP , said smart TVs already make up around 50 percent of the company's range, and it expects this to go to around 60-65 percent this year.

Will all tellies in the future be smart-TVs? Unlikely, said Newton, after a moment's reflection. The technology ain't cheap - at the bottom end, Samsung has non-smart tellies for under $400 or so, while its cheapest smart-TV comes in around $1350.
database of about 250,000 questions people might ask their television, from what Tom Cruise movies are on tonight to what time does the football start on Friday night.

The televisions are programmed to respond with one of 18,000 recorded answers, with people choosing between either a male or female Australian voice.

Samsung Australia's director of AV Brad Wright said people were used to speaking to technology by typically issuing specific commands, unlike the natural language of this system.

"And really importantly, (the TVs) will be speaking back in Australian English."

Mr Wright said the natural language system had the potential to change the way people found what to watch on their TV.

"There's lots of content out there. I went to that TV today and said 'is there any sport showing tonight?'," he said.

"I think it's a genuinely different and unique way to interact with technology."

The language system, which will be in Samsung's new high-end smart TVs, was part of a package of announcements made at a national launch in Sydney, including the launch of the $40,000 ultra high-definition 85-inch Samsung S9 that will go on sale next month.

Philip Newton, vice-president of Consumer Electronics for Samsung Australia, said the top end 4K TV was the biggest TV Samsung has ever released in the Australian marketplace.

"It's not designed for everybody," he said.

"No doubt in the future we will have UHD products at affordable price levels, that's not where we are now.

"But it is the emergence of a new technology."

Mr Newton said there were more than a dozen people already wanting to buy the $40,000 TV in Australia.

Mr Newton also announced new content available through its smart TVs through a range of optional apps, including a sports app which he said would give people access to 90 percent of all globally televised sports.

The Samsung Foxtel app currently allows people to watch Foxtel content on their smart TVs. Samsung will launch a Foxtel Go app in June which will let those customers watch Foxtel content on Samsung tablets and smartphones.
Samsung said the smart TV penetration in Australia grew by a third last year.

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