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Samsung unveils their First Curved Ultra High Definition TV, the U9000 Series at Mona Visitors Lodge

On Tuesday September 2nd 2014, Samsung made history in Jamaica and possibly the Caribbean. This as they’ve decided to make Jamaica and the Caribbean the test guinea pigs for their latest push into the HD (High Definition) Stratosphere. This as Samsung has launched the promised UHDTV Series of Television Sets that originally made its debut at CES 2014, the U9000 Series of UHDTV Smart TV.

samsung-UHDTV

Samsung has lived up to their promise. Back at CES 2014 Event in January 2014 in Las Vegas Nevada, Samsung teased a curved 78″ U9000 Series 4K Television set dubbed UHDTV (Ultra High Definition Television). That’s a fancy way of saying that it’s basically 4 times 1080p, the previous Standard for HDTV some 5 years past. Launched at CES2014 in Las Vegas, there were other models on show including the eye-popping 110″ S9 UHDTV Series.

The Samsung Launch Event here in Jamaica was no less elegant or professionally done.

The Samsung Launch Event for the Curved U9000 Series of UHDTV took place at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, a popular venue and a magnet for the Press and Social Media. I was tasked with covering this event so I made sure to pop in and scope out the shindig to get an early lay of the land.

This Launch of the Curved U9000 Series of UHDTV in Jamaica is just five (5) months after a similar launch at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in March 2014 where the massive realistic display was compared side-by-side with equally realistic and far more valuable artwork. This was done most likely to convey to the audience the depth of colour and realistic reproduction of artwork via the use of their latest UHDTV, hence showing its superior quality to yesteryear’s 2K and 1080p HDTV.

Samsung Launch Event – Curved U9000 Series of UHDTV Launched in First World style

The Mona Visitor’s Lodge was breathtakingly designed and decorated in the Blue and White colours of Samsung. Tables and chairs were white draped in strips of blue cloth stretched to sheen, creating a Star Trek Next Generation theme mixed with a Greco-Roman vignette. The pathway leading up to the Presentation area was also decked out in stripes of Blue and White and hidden accents of black that guided the visitor straight towards the staging area.

On the outside, I was just in time to observe the last of work being done on a rampart leading up to the main entrance that was painted black. A Table draped in blue was to the left in front of a Roman Archway where some Press Kits with a product pitch and a USB Thumb Drive were placed along with what looked like black Ballpoint Pen Cases tied in Blue and White Ribbon. I took one and chatted up the Marketing people from PRISM Marketing who apparently were getting ready for the launch of yet another great Samsung product.

When I went back to have a seat, four Vestal Virgins dressed in White Toga with Gold bangles on their arms and wrists with belts emblazoned with the Samsung Logo waltzed in. I sat at the rear, drinking it all in, admiring of the nubile femme fetales as they glided as if on air and stood frozen as if they’ve been spellbound by Medusa once 2 were placed at the entrance to the venue and 2 inside.

At the front of the presentation area where the stage along with the Stone-solid Vestal Virgins were placed, the Gazebo was covered with strips of blue and white forming a flat roof, possibly to protect the U9000 Series of UHDTV sitting behind a curtain of long black flowing drapes erected to hide the product that was yet to be unveiled. I was able to get a sneak peek at the Curved U9000 UHDTV before one of the PRISM Marketing heavies got gruff.

As the crowd began to build toward the 6pm launch time, crowd thickened and became more animated, mostly with Journalists. There were some notables in the form of Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining the Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who along with some Samsung Executives were in attendance.

On hand also was the Samsung Marketing executives, most notably Marketing Manager at Samsung Electronics for Latin America Patricia Lafeur, who I’d heard about from my CLARO Jamaica days as chronicled America Movil – Digicel Jamaica swap is Final with whom I chatted with regards to the products potential in Jamaica.

I pointed out to her that Jamaica was a country not known for throwing down money on upgrading their Television sets to HD that often, as we haven’t really caught the HDTV-upgrade bug as we’ve done for smartphones.

Still, she was upbeat, selling me on the merits of the Curved U9000 UHDTV, that being it’s dramatically improved picture Quality and its ease of upgradability. I wasn’t quite sure what she really meant, so I decided to await the presentation and end the suspense that seem to have attracted even the likes of Minister Phillip Paulwell to the launch of a UHDTV.

After MC (Master of Ceremonies) Carlette Deleon introduced us to the Curved U9000 UHDTV that she called “The Art of the Curve”, Marketing Manager at Samsung Electronics for Latin America Patricia Lafeur did the honours and unveiled what some 70 odd persons had come out in the mosquito-free outdoors at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge to see with their own two eyes.

It looked gorgeous, people, seeing the three (3) Curved U9000 UHDTV arranged on a Table covered with Blue cloth arranged in a curved panoramic pattern. Trust me, as the following video played repeatedly showing the quality of the Curved U9000 UHDTV.

Samsung’s Curved U9000 UHDTV – Specs Reveal Samsung’s betting Big on 3D UHDTV

Picture snapping and Champaign poppin’ isn’t my kinda scene, so I look for some tech release by checking out the tech.

Undoubtedly the star of the show was the U9000 Series, which looked more commercially viable, given the 55” 65” and 78” models that were on offer. At the end of the presentation I spoke to Dale Powell, Samsung’s Technical Representative who was also lounging around the three (3) Curved U9000 UHDTV sets that sat perched as Journalists and onlookers swarmed in to glimpse this wonder that had many gasping with comments and asking questions in animated three and four group conversations.

Good to note that the CES 2014 Model was a 78” and it wasn’t on display here. Instead they had the 55” U9000 models on display that were a razor-sharp 1.2” (30.48mm) thick through its curve. Add to those meatier Processors that gets this awesome Smart TV up and at ‘em in less than 1.8 seconds and Video Gaming and Streaming Netflix should be awesome with little or no jitter or lag during Game-play.

Thus when I came to the Samsung Launch Event, I expected a 4K with not only better colour rendering and contrast thanks to their PurColour Technology, but also support for such standard connectivity technologies such as H.265 (HEVC) decoding, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 compliance and MHL 3.0. I was also interested to see if the Curved U9000 UHDTV was also wall mountable using conventional VESA standard hardware, something that’s unique for a TV of its size and shape and not yet duplicated by their competition.

The advantage of the curved screen is that it creates a panoramic effect that makes the screen look bigger, allowing for a more realistic design. The optimum curvature of 4200 Radians also results in improved viewing angles at distances up to 3 and 4 meters. It’s a true to life viewing experience, making my spot any spot on the couch satisfy even the most Sheldon Cooper-ish among us, Big Bang Theory Style!

Samsung’s Curved U9000 UHDTV is also sporting some proprietary tech that’s yet to be copied by the competition. They’ve developed what essentially a pixel doubler that basically detects the type of Video quality, be it 480p SD (Standard Definition) or 720p or 1080p HD (High Definition) and multiplies the pixels up to the point that it appears to be 4K.

The Curved U9000 UHDTV comes with an Auto Depth Enhancer technology that enhances the contrast of a 3D Video so as to create more realistic 3D. I’m still surprised that Samsung is still supporting 3D, even though very little content exists for 3D with ESPN shuttering their 3D Sports channel in June 2014.

Oh, and it also has a front-facing retractable camera that pops out at the press of a button and allows you to do Skype Calls. No word on the specs but Dale Powell, Samsung’s Technical Representative claims it can even do 3D Motion Capture, enabling the user to control the TV with gestures like Microsoft Kinect as described in Siri and Kinect: Heralds of a coming world free of Remote Controls without using your remote control or even your Samsung Galaxy smartphone, which can act as a remote control as well.

As for content I have no idea of what its capable of, as the three (3) Curved U9000 UHDTV sets were not connected to Broadband Internet to see if it has Apps or even how it handles Streaming 4K Video Games or just playing movie and show content!

Odd, as ESPN, a previous supporter of 3D is apparently creeping back to 3D now that Samsung’s breaking out the Big Guns with Curved U9000 Series UHDTV, as Soccer Panel has created in partnership with ESPN to allow football aficionados to receive curated and tailored football content on their favorite leagues and teams according to their preferences including:

  •  Video highlights of recent Games
  •  Team news
  •  Scores
  •  Football Game schedules
  •  Recent rankings
  •  Live Game streaming

But there’s more, much more under the hood, or should I say outside of the hood, a excellent segue to the Samsung One Connect Box. They’re able to maintain the size of their TV by placing all the connectors in a single Samsung’s One Connect Box, which Houses the TV inputs, outputs and Processing chips.

Folks, this is genius as it basically makes the Smart TV just a Screen with a Computer, making upgrading the Curved U9000 UHDTV no different from upgrading a computer by buying a New CPU! If Apple plans to launch a UHDTV, Samsung will have the market cornered in the Caribbean and the US of A by 2015!

Cost of a Curved U9000 UHDTV – Top-Tier 3D UHDTV is Car and House down-payment money

UHDTV Technology seems set to go mainstream.

3D UHDTV, however, sounds more like a better value proposition, as with the Top-Tier Curved U9000 Series of UHDTV, the pricing will also be Top-Tier and thus more justified. The Pricing of the Curved U9000 UHDTV in Jamaica as well as the US of A and Europe is expected to be as follows:

  •  US$4,000 for the 55″ Model
  •  US$5,000 for the 65″ Model
  •  US$8,000 for the 78″ Model

You do the calculation for the prices here in Jamaica!

But whatever figure you come up with, trust me fellow Jamaicans, it’ll be worth it! Hopefully by the time they come to sale at Courts and ATL (Appliance Traders Limited), they’ll also include insurance direct from Samsung.

Folks, those prices are Car and House down-payment money in Jamaica; it better be coming with Insurance as well as a 2 year Service and Parts Warranty as if the screen breaks or the Samsung’s One Connect Box gets hit by an electrical surge, you’ll be out at least US$5000.

Samsung is apparently making a bet that 3D Technology will really look excellent at this incredibly high resolution. Glasses-Free 3D Technology has now done away with the clunky nerdy glasses and has matured into better 3D UHDTV coming from Samsung and Sharp in early January 2014. This explains why Hollywood is still churning out Blu-Rays with 3D movies even since the start of 2014!

Curved U9000 UHDTV – 3D UHDTV guaranteed a hit in Jamaica if a Video Gaming Competition

Still I left a bit disappointed.

The Curved U9000 UHDTV setup wasn’t daisy chained, so it wasn’t able to do a spanned scene across all three Television sets at the same time. Also, I notice no Power Surge Protector, as behind the three (3) Curved U9000 UHDTV sets. This made me wonder if these TV has a built in Surge Protector bar, as I saw no Power Brick on either the Curved U9000 UHDTV or the Samsung One Connect Box.

The video playing was a continuous scene that I got with my Press Kit on the Thumb Drive and not a dynamic fast-moving UHDTV scene, so I didn’t get to see the product in action. I was expecting something like, say, real UHDTV content or a UHDTV Video source with a very high Frame rate, such a Video Game demo of Borderlands 2, Total War: Rome 2, BioShock Infinite, Battlefield 4, The Walking Dead: Episode 2, Metro Last Light, Hitman: Absolution, Portal 2 or even The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

Disappointed too that I hadn’t seen a demonstration of Skype using the built in Camera for which no specs have been given as it relates to Megapixels or even Frame rate. Add to that I have been unable to see the Curved U9000 UHDTV used as a Computer Screen, as I’m betting this would be great for animation!

Had I seen all of that, I’d have been really impressed.

So that settles if then. I’ll be really impressed when I see this in action, especially using a Video sources from, say, a Super NES Gaming Console, as I’d love to see how it handles rendering SD Content from older pixilated Video Games as well as 4K Video Games as mentioned above!

I’ll be even more impressed if Samsung could sponsor a Video Game Competition in Jamaica using these Curved U9000 UHDTV, preferably in partnership with the Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation and Nintendo WiiU Gaming Consoles!

Once Jamaicans see what this TV can do especially via such an Islandwide Video Game competition, Car and House down-payment money will become down payment to get a Curved U9000 Series of UHDTV!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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