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Samsung 65F9000 UHD: A thing of beauty inside and outside

Published on Apr 28, 2014 2:38 AM
 

Consumers used to be fixated on colour and screen quality when choosing a TV set. That is a thing of the past.

Improvements in screen technology have so boosted colours, contrast and vibrancy across brands that the high quality of many screens makes it tough for a buyer to distinguish one from another.

Now, how much a buyer is prepared to pay may depend more on how good a TV set looks, and whether it offers 3-D stereoscope, games and apps.

Manufacturers are banking on design and form factor to woo a new breed of home owners.

Size matters. As the bezels or borders around a screen get ever thinner, and screens grow ever larger, even a 42-inch model can start to look small in a living room.

So as more home owners choose models with 55-inch screens, manufacturers are responding by making TV sets with ever larger and sharper screens, such as Samsung's latest 65F9000 model.

The sharp and vibrant colours on the 65F9000's LED display were what I expected. The blacks were deep and there was a depth to the colours shown on the screen.

If you have a Blu-ray collection filled with glorious 1,080p movies, prepare to be wowed by the screen's sharpness and the wealth of details.

Samsung's latest LED models are the ultra high-definition (UHD) type. If you have been used to 1,080p resolution, get set for a leap in clarity you will receive from the 65F9000's 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.

This is four times the current high-definition resolution, and more than 4,000 pixels wide, which is why UHD is also known as 4K.

Samsung's UHD models in this range will up-convert the content to 2,160p. For those familiar with pushing 720p resolution to fit 1,080p screens, what this will mean is that software fills up the missing pixels during this conversion, to give the impression of greater clarity.

With 1,080p content on Blu-ray discs, the conversion to 2,160p is barely noticeable on a 65-inch TV. This is because the human eye is not able to perceive any visual flaws until the object is much bigger, so the loss in sharpness might be more pronounced with larger screens.

With a 720p video though, jaggies start to appear around the edges of objects. The trade-off is that with a 65-inch screen, you are better off sitting farther from the screen, which keeps you from noticing the loss in pixels in parts of the video playback.

The 65-inch model might seem huge on paper, but because of the extremely thin border around the display, and the relative slimness (40.7mm) of the body, this beauty will fit even in a three-room HDB flat.

One reason the frame can be so thin is that the TV's processor and connectors, such as component video, HDMI and USB, are no longer installed on the TV's back. Instead, the brains are now contained in an external case roughly the size of a pencil box.

Can you imagine shifting a 34.2kg TV just to connect a few cables, or to plug in a USB drive to view photos and videos? No need for that now. You can even mount the TV on a wall, knowing you will not need to move it just to plug in a cable.

The external device is more than just the TV's brains. It is also its new evolution kit component.

Samsung started offering upgradable TVs two years ago with its evolution kit accessory. This is essentially an upgraded processor that can be linked to a TV model from the previous year to receive the same hardware and software upgrades as a current model.

This new peripheral adds connectors to the mix. In theory, next year's kit can adapt to changes beyond hardware and software if the TV industry should adopt or introduce new HDMI or USB standards.

No price has been set for next year's kit. This year's kit costs $399, sans connectors.

Like most new TV sets, those in Samsung's range here include apps, games and 3-D capability. Each set comes with two pairs of 3-D glasses and their thin plastic frames make them more comfortable to wear than older models.

But with a screen so big, you need to stand back to really appreciate the stereoscopic effect.

  • There may not be much content for UHD TVs now, but for those who want to embrace something new and enjoy the scale of a bigger screen, Samsung's UHD models are things of beauty, inside and outside.

sherwinl@sph.com.sg

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $6,499 (55 inches), $9,499 (65 inches)

Screen: 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, Ultra Clear Panel

Audio: 3-D Sound, 70W (15W x 2 + 20W x 2) Sound Output, Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby Pulse, DNSe+, DTS Premium Audio

Video: Clear Motion Rate 1,000Hz, Micro Dimming Ultimate

Picture engine: 3-D HyperReal Engine

Dynamic contrast ratio: Mega contrast


RATING

Features - 4/5

Design - 5/5

Performance - 4/5

Value for money - 4/5

Overall - 4/5