Samsung has released so many new technologies at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that nobody can figure out which ones to write about. But for the general couch-bound consumer, probably the biggest news is that TVs are getting bigger again. Sharper too.
For a little while there, it seemed that we would all be watching TV on our smartphones and tablets but Samsung has broken that model wide open with a gigantic 85-inch TV.
Of course, bigger isn't always better. Remember the original big-screen TVs? They were the size of a car but the picture left a lot to be desired.
Not this time around. Samsung has not only introduced some truly gigantic screens, it's also increased the resolution nearly fourfold. The current standard for high-def is a horizontal resolution of 1,080 pixels which is, as they say, mighty fine. But even finer is Samsung's new 4,000-pixel standard, already known simply as 4K, and also as UHD, for ultra-high definition.
Now, having a screen that can reproduce a 4k image doesn't do you much good without the image, so Samsung has built in circuitry that takes a 1080p image and "rezzes it up," to to speak, to 4k.
Besides the bigger screens and higher definition, Samsung has also made numerous improvements to its suite of Smart TV applications, including a search tool that lets you search cable, over-the-air and Internet sources when you're looking for a particular show or series.
As promised, Samsung unveiled its "Evolution Kit," which enables Samsung 2012 Smart TVs to evolve into Samsung’s new 2013 Smart TVs. By simply attaching the Evolution Kit device into the back of a Samsung Smart TV, consumers can enjoy the latest features that the 2013 Smart TVs have to offer.
With hardware enhancements, such as CPU, memory and GPU up to the level of the latest Smart TV, users can enjoy faster speeds for browsing the Internet and multitask by using apps while watching TV, the company said.
In addition, Samsung’s Smart Interaction features such as voice control and motion control will be enhanced. Once the Evolution Kit is attached to the slot, 2012 Smart Hub is transformed to 2013 version. Every year, consumers will now be able to enjoy the latest services with Samsung's Smart TVs, according to Samsung.
Sales of TVs have been slumping lately, partly because consumers have been throwing money at tablets and smartphones. With its Evolution Kit, Samsung appears to be hoping to convince consumers they can upgrade their TV today without worrying about it becoming obsolete in the next year or two.
Skeptics may point to the rash of early failures in Samsung TVs over the last few years. And in fact, it's usually wise to avoid the leading edge in any kind of electronic gear. Early versions tend to have more problems and, of equal importance, the price tends to come down as a new technology becomes more commonplace.
It's also good to remember that these are not your father's TVs. Modern electronic gear isn't exactly delicate but it is very sensitive to heat, spikes and surges, so don't count on getting more than a few years of service. Budget accordingly.