It’s amazing to think how much TVs have changed in the past 5 years. It wasn’t that long ago that 3D was the next big thing, and one of the few TVs that had the capability would set you back thousands of dollars.
A couple years ago, it was having a curved TV in your living room. The curve was meant to make you feel more immersed in what you’re watching, and allowing anyone in the room see a good picture, regardless of where they were sitting.
The next big thing is 4K. It’s not particularly new - Ultra High-Definition TVs are starting to become commonplace in electronic stores and in homes around the country. The quality of videos is amazing… if you can find 4K content.
Now Samsung have taken it to the next level with their range of SUHD TVs. When I first heard about it, I initially through the resolution of the picture was going to be even better, assuming the S stood for “Super”. But alas, when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME. The S actually is Samsung’s way of saying it’s one of their premium products, just like the Galaxy S6.
They certainly aren’t wrong.
The colours are better, the brightness is improved, and the picture looks amazing. The TV boasts 64 times more colour expression than their other TVs, and a new re-mastering engine increasing highlights 2.5 times and making dark shades even darker.
Looking at the two side by side a few weeks ago in Sydney, you could see the difference. The picture was clearer and really stood out. Linked up with their new range of audio products (including a rugby ball-shaped speaker giving 360-degree sound), it was an impressive line-up.
One of the key features of these new TVs is their sporting modes. There is a new “rugby mode” (or “NRL mode” as they’re dubbing it in Australia) which allows viewers to stop, rewind, replay game highlights and zoom in on camera angles. All this comes just in time for the Rugby World Cup.
The SUHD also uses their new Tizen OS, giving users easy access to a range of apps and making them open even faster. They’ve brought in new features including a simplified interface which also tailors content recommendations, the ability to share content from other Samsung Smart devices, as well as briefing mode. It makes the TV display important information including the day’s weather, the morning headlines and you upcoming schedule (if you’ve linked it with your calendar).
The big thing with their apps is that they’ve managed to negotiate deals with key content suppliers including TVNZ On-Demand, 3NOW and Lightbox being available on Samsung and not other TV brands.
While they’re fantastic TVs, there are two downfalls – content and delivery. At the moment, NZ TV networks only broadcast in 1080p High Definition, not 4K. So viewers wanting to watch the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final (wishful thinking there) on their new TV, will find themselves out of luck. That being said, there isn’t no 4K content – there’s a range of UHD videos available online via YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix and other content providers that have apps in their OS. It’s the broadcasters that have to work out a way to get 4K content to users – not Samsung.
But then the other downfall is delivery. New Zealand is behind the times when it comes to internet speed. We’re still only just getting fibre in our street, and we live very close to the CBD. Others will still have to wait years to get ultra-fast broadband. And that’s just looking at Auckland. For 4K content on-demand to work, you need fast internet, and while some may already have it, others will still be waiting.
Don’t’ get me wrong - I’m loving these TVs and if I could I would buy one for my house. The benefits are amazing regardless of how much 4K content is around. But telcos and content providers need to start keeping up with the times, otherwise the technology will surpass what’s available to watch.
In New Zealand the TVs come in three ranges (including curved and flat-screen models) and sizes ranging from 55-inches to 78-inches. But they’re not cheap – prices range from $5,499 to $19,999. If you’re looking for a new TV, I would highly recommended considering Samsung’s new SUHD range.
Edward flew to Sydney for the SUHD TV launch courtesy of Samsung New Zealand.