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CES 2012: Samsung Unveils Super OLED, Future-Proofed Smart TVs

By Matthew Braga

Samsung has big plans for its line of smart internet-enabled TVs.

Samsung was all about “pushing boundaries” at this year’s CES keynote—which made it all the more ironic to see Angry Birds finally make its way to the company’s Smart TVs. But smartphone games of yesteryear aside, Samsung has big plans for its line of internet-enabled TVs—in particular, a new future proofing strategy that might just lessen the blow of post-purchase regret.

According to Boo-Keun Yoon, the president of Samsung’s consumer electronics division, the company sold over 5.7 million units in 2011 alone. That’s no small feat—two TVs per second, said Yoon—and Samsung might have a way to sell even more.

If done right, Smart Evolution has the potential to become a killer feature on Samsung TVs. Starting with the company’s 2012 line, users will be able to upgrade the hardware and software capabilities of Samsung Smart TVs using an system-on-chip upgrade kit that fits into the back of the display. A Smart TV would evolve every year in terms of performance and service—without requiring an entirely new TV. With upgrade kits available beginning in 2013, Yoon promised users would “never be left behind.”

One of those models is the RS8000, part of a new line of dual-core Smart TV up to 75” in size. Each model will have a revamped Smart Hub interface, and an integrated camera on the higher-end units. The latter is required for Samsung’s new Smart Interaction feature, obviously inspired by Microsoft’s foray into the hands-free motion and voice control space. A demo video on stage promised an experience eerily similar to Microsoft’s Xbox dashboard, wherein users can ask the television to change channels, and use gestures to interact with the display.

It’s worth mentioning the display is also 3D-capable—as are half of the models in Samsung’s 2012 lineup. To sweeten the deal, Samsung has also signed a deal with NBC Universal to make Battlestar Galactica—and other unannounced titles—available for purchase or streaming in 3D.

Samsung also unveiled its new 55” Super-OLED Ultimate TV, touted as the largest commercialized OLED TV. While traditional OLED displays direct white light through colour filters, Samsung’s Super OLED display, uses sub-pixels that are capable of emitting their own coloured light. The result, as always, is said to be a brighter and more vibrant image than ever before.