Lauren Goode

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Samsung Unveils “Super” 55-Inch OLED TV

At CES each year, Samsung Electronics’ press conference generally sweeps across multiple industries, touching TVs, smartphones, home appliances and digital-imaging products. This year was no exception, with the electronics giant focusing on TVs, mobile devices and connectivity across home appliances.

After an introduction from Samsung Visual Display president Boo-Keun Yoon, the company launched into its TV offerings for 2012 and beyond.

Samsung first showed off the ES 8000 LED TV, a smart TV with a dual-core processor that allows for multitasking — for instance, if you’re watching a movie on Netflix and want to check on hockey scores through NHL Game Center, you can toggle easily between apps.

And since TV makers always think bigger is better, Samsung is offering smart TVs up to 75 inches.

Samsung first introduced TV apps two years ago at CES; this year, the company is expanding the TV app offerings on its smart TVs with new content partnerships. The number of TV apps available has grown from 500 to 2,500 over the past two years, Samsung said. It has also introduced Smart Hub, improving the user interface of its smart TVs.

Now, Samsung says Media Hub, which is its mobile platform for apps and entertainment content, will be coming to TVs, as well. (This is already too many “Hubs” for us, but we’ll keep listening.)

Because no CES conference is complete without 3-D: 50 percent of Samsung’s TV models this year will be 3-D TVs, and the company believes consumers “love” 3-D in the home. In the past, Samsung has partnered with companies like DreamWorks to bundle 3-D movies with TVs; now, Samsung will offer streaming 3-D content, like “Battlestar Galactica,” through the Media Hub.

In the middle of the event, a virtual Angry Bird made its way on stage to make an announcement on behalf of Samsung: Angry Birds will be available for free on Samsung smart TVs! (PS: It’s also available on the Roku 2 box for a lot less than a smart TV. Just a tip.)

Emphasizing family-friendly usage and connectivity in the home, users can also now upload photos, videos and memos directly to the TV using “Family Story” features.

In the future, there will also be voice chat, voice gestures and face-recognition technologies in its TVs. With a demo video, Samsung showed how face recognition logs in users to access their own profiles, and how voice control can power Web browsing (demoed using Microsoft’s Bing search engine). Since the Internet evolves much more quickly than TV sets do — most consumers hold onto a set for five years or more — Samsung is offering a “Smart Evolution Kit” for easily upgradable TVs.

And, in a take-that-LG move, Samsung has rolled out a 55-inch “super” OLED TV, with an emphasis on “super,” the company says, because it has a dual-core processor, an ultra-slim bezel, a super-fast motion-response time that eliminates blur and has no need for a color filter. Oh, and by the way, it’s also 3-D. Samsung’s Tim Baxter said during the event that Samsung makes 90 percent of all OLED displays used worldwide.

LG also unveiled a 55-inch OLED TV this morning at its press -conference, as well as 3-D smart-TV offerings.

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