With increased competition from Chinese brands stealing away a larger percentage of its market share, Samsung called in one of its friends in Hollywood to help make its new hardware at the Consumer Electronics Show a little more attractive.
“We are focused on breaking down barriers and innovating across our business so we can deliver a movie experience for consumers that’s richer and deeply immersive. Samsung UHD provides stunning picture quality and true-to-life colors that are delighting consumers at home,” Dunn told a massive gathering of international press, a turnout so large that it made Samsung look as if it was giving a presentation at San Diego’s Comic-Con.
Perhaps those in the audience were hoping for another Michael Bay moment, in which the director abruptly left the stage when a teleprompter didn’t work during Samsung’s CES press event last year, creating an awkward but highly buzzed about scene.
They didn’t get that this year.
Instead, a smooth presentation showcased new 4K TVs — Samsung’s latest entry into the smart TV biz, with the new line of high-end SUHD flatscreens expected to be released sometime this spring.
The electronics is throwing considerable weight behind UHD TVs this year, with lower prices and larger screens expected to help replace aging flatscreens in homes and be especially embraced in emerging markets.
Fox and Samsung formed a relationship last year as part of the studio’s inhouse innovation lab, which is focused on embracing digital platforms as a way to make homevideo releases more attractive — especially to consumers’ wallets. If they’re spending more time at home, why not get them to spend more money on movies and TV shows, goes the thinking.
And without content, electronics like home theater systems just look cold.
Samsung plans to release nine SUHD LCDs this year, with the curved JS9500 — measuring 65- and 85-inches in width — serving as its flagship (see above).
The units use nano-crystal technology to present the best color and contrast while using very little power. The TVs provide viewers with 64 times more color expression than conventional TVs, and produce images with much darker blacks and an elevated brightness up to 2.5 times brighter than other flatscreens, as well as double the color adjustment points for the most accurate color display, according to Samsung. As for the ‘S’ in SUHD, it doesn’t stand for anything.
The company said it achieved all that with Fox’s help, remastering scenes from Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”
To hype the capabilities of its new SUHD LCD TVs, Samsung turned to film colorist Stephen Nakamura, who worked on “Exodus,” as well as Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” with Nakamura taking the stage to call Samsung’s SUHDs “the best TVs I’ve ever seen. They are a big leap forward for the consumer experience.”
Samsung, of course, isn’t trying to relinquish its stronghold over the home entertainment biz, having dominated sales of TVs and other hardware for nearly a decade. It controlled 60% of the flatscreen market in 2014, the company said, with half of it made up of curved screens.
During its presentation, Samsung also noted that all of its smart TVs will now be run using Tizen, a Web-based software designed to be faster and enable more apps to be designed for its screens. The software was used to design a new user interface for its smart TVs, being unveiled at CES, that Samsung considers more “playful.”
Samsung also promoted its UHD Video Pack, in partnership with M-GO, a joint venture between Technicolor and DreamWorks Animation. Fox distributes DWA’s films and homevideo titles.
The company also made a big push for its Milk streaming service. After starting with music and moving into video, Milk VR will soon offer up content for Samsung’s Gear virtual reality headset.
Samsung’s press event came the same day that the company joined Fox to become part of a new UHD Alliance, made up of electronics manufacturers and the major studios to promote 4K content, and “deliver a consistently excellent viewing experience at home,” Dunn said.
“We have to make it easy for consumers to know which products and what content will give them the true UHD experience,” Dunn added. “The UHD Alliance will help consumers and content creators identify high-quality UHD technology. This space is evolving rapidly, with many features, such as resolution, high dynamic range, wide color gamut and immersive audio. The UHD Alliance is a huge step forward for our industry.”