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Ultimate Room with a View.jpgHow about this for a room with a view? It's a pod on the London Eye which has been decked out with Samsung's latest curved OLED screen, the S9C.

Samsung claims it is the first TV to feature Multi View capabilities meaning two people can watch completely different full-screen Full-HD content, even in 3D, on the same display. This Multi View feature is like having two TVs in one and is enabled by Samsung's 3D Active glasses.

Sadly the living room set up is only on the London Eye for one day only. Though it's probably just as well, otherwise you'd spend all your time watching the telly rather than admiring the view!


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samsung-uhd-tv.jpgSamsung are rolling out the big home cinema guns ahead of their IFA 2013 showcase, today annoucning the release of two ultra high definition display.

First up is a 98-inch UHD large format display (LFD) screen. The giant set hits near-4K quality resolutions four times as sharp as a standard full HD 1080p display. The company are planning a jaw-dropping line up of three of the screens side by side at the IFA conference to make what's essentially a 171-inch display.

Secondly, the Samsung have announced a more manageable 31.5-inch UHD monitor - the sharpest Samsung have ever made. Packing in 8.3 million pixels (a standard full HD screen sports just 2.07 million), it's aimed at the pros, coming complete with a range of calibration options including a 25 section split for colour balancing, supporting 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space.

No pricing announced yet, but expect each to cost a pretty penny as their aimed at commercial buyers.

lgd-qhd-panel.jpgWe are only just getting used to Full HD displays on mobile and now LG has come and upped the ante even further. The Korean maker has just announced that it has developed the world's first Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) smartphone display - this makes it four times higher res than standard HD. It also boasts the highest pixel density of a mobile device, coming in at 538ppi.

The panel is a fully fledged Phablet coming in at at 5.5-inches and it is slim too at just 1.21mm - which LG claims makes it the world's slimmest.

Another key difference is that the LG panel will apparently 'enable users to enjoy a full view of PC-version web pages at a single glance without image distortion; a contrast to current Full HD displays which only realize 3/4th of a full screen. '

LG also claims that even when the screen is enlarged users will be able to see undistorted and sharper text.

"LG Display, which pioneered the high resolution mobile market with introduction of the world's first Full HD smartphone panel in 2012, again opens new possibilities with the successful application of QHD technology," said Dr. Byeong-koo Kim, Vice President and Head of LG Display's IT and Mobile Development Group.

"With this breakthrough, LG Display will continue to raise new standards for mobile resolution and lead the mobile display market."

It will be interesting to see which phone gets it first.

Originally published on Shiny Shiny
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philips-UHD-TV-65PLF9708.jpgThough they've yet to officially reveal it, Philips' first UHD TV set is already winning gongs, with the 65PFL9708 set having been outed publically by the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) awards.

A 65-inch set, its been revealed to use passive 3D glasses tech, edge LED lighting, strong upscaling capabilities and the brand's signature Ambilight room-illuminating tech.

"With Ultra HD content the Philips 65PFL9708 offers astonishing depth and clarity and its upscaling talents improve the quality of Blu-ray, DVD and direct broadcast sources. Passive 3D images on this 65-inch TV also look razor-sharp thanks to the screen's greater resolution," said the EISA judges.

"Other picture quality highlights include a robust edge LED system and superb brightness, contrast and motion performance, while Ambilight XL illumination makes the whole experience more immersive."

While Philips promise to reveal more during their IFA 2013 press conference at the start of September, they have teased a relatively affordable price point for the set, telling would-be buyers to expect to pay "significantly lower" than what's currently offered by rivals. With the Samsung UE65F9000 priced at £5,999, we'd say to brace yourself for a price tag somewhere around the £5,998 mark.

1-apple-TV_630.jpgIt may be just one of Apple's "hobby" product pursuits, but the company's freshly-inked acquisition of video recommendations site Matcha.tv suggests Apple are still ploughing away at a smart TV.

Thought to have been bought up by Apple for between $1 million and $1.5 million, Matcha.tv aggregates video content from across service, including Netflix, iTunes and Amazon, putting cross-platform recommendations at your fingertips and giving viewers a wide selection of viewing options.

Working as a second-screen iOS application (pulled from the App Store back in May, foreshadowing this confirmation of the purchase), it's likely that Apple are looking into integrating the service into a potential remote or navigation app for future Apple TV or iTV devices.

lg-classic-tv.jpgWant to deck your pad out like you're Mad Men's Don Draper, but don't want to have to sacrifice your HD TV thrills for the sake of the retro aesthetic? Then check out the LG Classic TV, which combines a chic retro design with all the mod-cons of a modern HD LCD screen.

The Classic TV (model number 32LN630R) is a 32-inch set with a full HD 1080p (1920x1080 resolution) IPS panel, embedded in a design that wouldn't look out of place in a 1950s "nuclear home". Standing on four feet, it uses a Scandinavian-style wood frame to set it apart from today's standard black flatscreens, and comes complete with rotary dial controls for volume and channel switching.

Its IPS panel allows for a wide viewing angle of 178-degrees, while there's also a USB connection for playing back media from a storage drive, as well as an MHL video connection for smartphones and tablets.

In South Korean stores now priced at 840,000 won (£480 roughly) there's no word yet on a UK release.

samsung-uhd-4k-tv-july-2013-thumb.jpgSamsung have announced that their next wave of ultra-high definition 4K TVs, the 55 and 65-inch members of the F9000 family, will hit UK stores in July.

Hot on the heels of the UK launch of the 85-inch S9 UHD 4K TV in April this year, the screens are four times as sharp as full HD 1080p screens when displaying native 4K content.

Each set uses Samsung's Quadmatic Picture Engine, which aims to deliver superb brightness and contrast levels along with pin-sharp detail, while micro-dimming technology results in richer blacks and brighter whites.

With 4K content a little thin on the ground, 4-step upscaling techniques will squeeze the most out of 1080p content, and even standard definition materials.

Samsung's Smart TV interface also features, with voice activated controls and the S Recommendation system helping you find TV shows tailored to your tastes. The Smart Evolution feature will also allow owners to upgrade the processor and software of the television further down the line through sold-separately modules, keeping the set up to date even many years later.

Considering the screen size and 4K tech packed in here, both sets are quite reasonably priced. You're looking at an RRP of £3999.99 for the UE55F9000, with the UE65F9000 sitting at an RRP of £5999.99.

doctor-who-face.jpgThe BBC have announced plans to launch five new, free HD TV channels by next year.

The new channels set to broadcast are BBC News HD, BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD.

Whereas some previous HD channels from the Beeb have acted like a high-definition "greatest hits" roll for the broadcaster, with hand-picked HD programming, the new channels will instead be high-definition simulcasts of existing BBC channels. Altogether, the new channels will account for 250 hours more of free HD content than is currently available through free TV services.

BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will be broadcast on the BBC's existing high definition spectrum, with the remaining new channels broadcast on a new multiplex made available by Ofcom following the digital switchover.

As many as a further ten HD channels could be hitting terrestrial airwaves following the switchover.

The BBC have also announced plans to roll out regional versions of BBC One HD and BBC Two HD for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

LG-55EA9800-currys-7.JPGA pint-sized IMAX in your living room? That's the plan behind LG's 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV. Hitting British shores for the first time at yesterday's Currys / PC World showcase, we went eye on with a screen quite unlike any we've ever seen before.

Measuring 55-inches across, the screen has a gentle concave curve when viewed from the front, similar to that seen in IMAX cinema screens. The design intention is to make viewing the television more immersive - sit within the screen's central sweetspot and your eyes are equidistant from each edge of the set. It feels like being enveloped by the action on screen (though that's a feeling that may be diminished the further away from the set you go - the Currys demo room had us sitting little more than a metre from the screen).LG-55EA9800-currys-5.JPGThe effect is bolstered by the use of OLED tech in the screen. We've written extensively about OLED TVs in the past, and LG (though taking their sweet time with it) are well in line to leading the charge with AV enthusiasts' successor to the plasma throne. Though only a 1080p display, and lacking the supreme detail of 4K sets, LG's screen delivered stunning black levels, while still managing to keep colour accuracy impressively lifelike, with both colour and contrast levels aided by the introduction of a white sub-pixel alongside the standard RGB array.LG-55EA9800-currys-4.JPGThe screen's use of OLED also has the added benefit of offering very a very wide viewing angle. Though the curved effect introduces a pronounced sweetspot (everyone will want to sit front and centre in front of this TV), those setting to extreme left and rights of the screen will not have their viewing experience suffer from any colour wash out. The speedy response times of OLED technology also offer the most comfortable 3D viewing experience possible, with the lightweight passive glasses delivering truly eye-popping visuals thanks to OLED's speedy response time, for better or worse depending on your stance on 3D.LG-55EA9800-currys-6.JPGOLED technology also allows the screen to be impossibly thin, with a carbon fibre finish to the casing that's as sturdy as it is stylish. Pencil-thin, this is very much a showpiece set, though those looking to wall mount the screen may have some problems due to the curvature.LG-55EA9800-currys-3.JPGAs one would expect from a flagship LG set, smart connectivity is also included, with the full raft of web apps and catch up TV services offered through LG's Smart TV interface. A Wii-remote like Magic Remote control makes controlling the set a breeze, with motion controls and onscreen cursor making light work of even entering text in search boxes.

Sound quality, while still no match for a dedicated home cinema system, is disarmingly impressive for a screen so svelte. Housed within a clear perspex strip below the screen (making the display itself look as though it's floating above its mount), the front-facing stereo array, paired with a down-firing subwoofer in the bottom-rear of the set, offers a warmer sound than similarly thin sets from rivals.LG-55EA9800-currys-2.JPGDue in stores by Christmas, we're still waiting on an official price for the curvalicious set. With the regular flat OLED TVs from LG already commanding a price tag of above £10,000, expect to have to sell an organ to be able to afford one.

samsung_uhd_tv-580x385.jpgSamsung's 85-inch S-Series UHD 4K TV was a showstopper at CES 2013, with its giant high-resolution display and easel-like frame housing its speakers. However, it unsurprisingly came with a whopping price tag, set to cost $39,999 when they launch in June. And don't even ask how much the 110-inch version costs.

Noting that its out of the price range of practically everyone on the face of the planet, it's now transpired that Samsung will be revealing 55- and 65-inch versions, ready to hit the Korean market in June ahead of a likely worldwide release.

With so little native 4K content available at the moment, $39,999 is a massive punt to take on a new screen, the benefits of which won't be seen for some years. And though pricing for the smaller sets can only be speculated at at the moment, it's got to be a fair sight more affordable than the giant screens.

Confirming that the screens will support Samsung's Evolution Kits (upgradable modules that will let Samsung offer faster processors and other improved specifications to the screens over time). the smaller sets will also feature micro-dimming technology for improved brightness and contrast levels, as well as upscaling of regular HD content.

REVIEW: Samsung UE32F6400 3D Smart TV

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UE32F6400-1.jpegreview-line.JPGName: Samsung UE32F6400 3D Smart TV

Type: 32-inch 3D Full HD TV with web connected Smart TV features

Specifications: Click here for full specs

Price as reviewed: Around £600

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We've seen the flagship 55-inch F8000 3D TV whopper from Samsung, and now we venture into more affordable territory with the 32-inch F6400. With many of the same connected Smart TV features of its big brother, can it impress in the same way? Read our full review to find out!

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NOTE: We tested the 32-inch F6400 model. However, with the specifications between this model and the 40 and 46, 55 and 65-inch models almost identical, we're confident that our tests with the 32-inch model will reflect a very similar experience were you looking to pick up one of the larger televisions instead.

Design:
UE32F6400-3.jpegWhile not quite as dazzling as the flagship F8000 models with their slimline bezels and low-clearance stands, the F6400 Samsung TVs still look very attractive.

At 49.5mm thick, it's a fairly plump set by today's super-slim standards, but not so much to make wall mounting unsightly or impractical. With the stand attached, that depth jumps to 264.8mm, but again that's not a depth that even a smaller TV cabinet couldn't handle. A black glossy bezel of a uniform size just over a centimetre sits around the screen, with the edges finished with a clear perspex for a reserved, stylish finish.

For the F6400, Samsung have reverted back to their four-pronged chrome stand, what we at Tech Digest affectionately call the alien foot. It still looks great, and it's more stable than the curved arc stand that ships with the flagship models even with it's ability to swivel a little, though admittedly is a bit more "in your face" than the mostly hidden arc stand.

Though 3 HDMI ports, 3USB ports and the antenna are mounted on the right hand side of the rear of the screen, composite, LAN and a fourth HDMI port, along with power supple, go directly into the back of the screen, which may cause a few cable tidying headaches if using all ports when wall mounting.

Connections:

It's good to see 4 HDMI inputs on a smaller set at an affordable price, alongside an array of USB ports. Freeview HD only here though, which may rile those hoping to get a Freesat HD tuner too.

  • Component In (Y / Pb / Pr) x 1
  • Composite In (AV) x 1 (Common Use for Component Y)
  • Digital Audio Out (Optical) x 1
  • Ethernet (LAN) x 1
  • HDMI x 4
  • RF In (Terrestrial / Cable Input) X 1
  • USB x 3
  • Headphone x 1
  • Scart x 1
  • CI Slot x 1
  • IR Out x 1
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

2D Picture Quality:
UE32F6400-2.jpegThe UE32F6400 has a standard 1080x1920 Full HD 1080p resolution, and performs above and beyond the picture quality we'd expect from a TV this price.

Out of the box the UE32F6400's Movie picture mode doesn't look half bad, and while it's still not at an enthusiast's level of picture perfection, ample image tweaking options (including white balance and green and red tint controls), will let you calibrate it just how you like it.

As with the F8000, Samsung's improved the backlight consistency for the F6400, and it makes a marked difference to the overall picture quality. With deep blacks and rich, detailed and accurate (once tweaked) colours, there's no problem with light leakage or image clouding with the latest models, with the blacklight and edge-lit algorithms working in tandem to really enhance the overall contrast of the image, and pull the most detail possible out of dark, shadowy scenes.

The screen's sharpness sees images really pop in high-definition, and firing up a Blu-ray disc lets the screen really let rip, offering up great detail for what these days (in the age of giant LCD living room panels) could be considered a second room or bedroom set.

Motion clarity on the presets is a little too aggressive for our liking, and you'll want to dial it back a bit with a custom setting unless you want to suffer from slightly watery movement. Once adjusted, fast action scenes move with little perceptible judder, and it's a very pleasant set to view movies and sport on as a result

As you'd expect, HD content looks the best on the F6400, but with the screen size here not gigantic, SD content looks perfectly fine too. The upscaling capabilities aren't quite as impressive as on the F8000, with some jagged edges appearing where they wouldn't on equivalent HD content. But with a screen this size a decent distance away, it's less noticeable anyway. Keep in mind that SD content on the larger F6400 models may suffer as a result.

3D Picture Quality:
samsung-f8000-3d.jpgThe F6400 uses active shutter 3D technology, and it performs well for a TV this size. Of course, with a 3D visuals, you're looking to bag as big a screen as possible to keep the 3D effect immersively encompassing your peripheral vision, but for a 3D gamer sat up close to the screen, the effect is still pretty good.

However, the forced motion processing which impressed so much on the F8000's 3D visuals doesn't work quite as well here, introducing significant motion interpolation that can hinder the depth effect. It's possibly a processing side-effect of the low-powered F6400, using a dual-core system rather than the F8000 quad-core array. Even with the Motion Plus setting set to off, it was still present, and was only defeated by switching on the Game Mode, itself introducing a lot of judder. Which looks better is up for debate, and neither is perfect.

Two pairs of 3D glasses come with the set (the same design that's a standard across all this year's 3D models from Samsung), and they're very light and comfortable, with the watch-battery that powers them sitting in a snap-down panel over the bridge of your nose. Ideally we'd prefer bigger lenses to help us from peeking out of the immersive 3D visuals, but the ones on offer here are large enough to sit relatively comfortably over a pair of prescription glasses.

Sound:

The UE32F6400 suffers from the usual shoddy audio that the majority of flatscreen TVs seem afflicted with.

Though 3D sound options are available, the down-firing 10W stereo speakers sound hollow and tinny, lacking any real punch, though doing a good job of keeping voices to the fore.

As ever, our advice is to pair the screen up with a soundbar or home cinema surround unit, the sad price we have to pay since leaving the bulk of CRT screens behind us.

Web Connected Smart TV and EPG features:
UE32F6400-smart-interface.jpgPacking in both Wi-Fi connectivity and an Ethernet connection, the F6400 has access to many of the Smart TV bells and whistles of its pricer counterparts. Though there's no built-in webcam or mic, putting Skype video calling out of the question as well as the so-so motion controls, you can still use the microphone built into the second of the two supplied remotes to interact with the TV screen.

The F6400 shares the same radically overhauled Smart TV interface that we reviewed in the F8000, so aside from a few pertinent omissions, this next section is basically the same as when we reviewed the pricer set.

As well as connecting up with your household's other smart devices (which we'll talk about in the " Remote Controls and Smartphone Apps" section of this review), Samsung have given the interface a drastic makeover, increasing the homescreen count from one to five.

These homescreens each focus on different aspects of the TV's capabilities. The first is dedicated to live TV, offering a picture-in-picture view of the channel you're currently watching, as well as recommendations based on your viewing habits showing similar shows as thumbnails surrounding it. Access to the Guide, Timeline and Recorded TV (shows are stored on a connected USB device) sit on the bottom.

The second screen focuses on On Demand TV and movie streaming services, and again offers recommendations based on your viewing habits, improving over time. As it stands, it can be confusing figuring out which service the recommendation comes from (it's a pain to have the premium Acetrax service pop-up when we're only looking for Netflix content), and though a cool feature, it'd benefit from being able to limit the sources the Samsung guide trawls through.

A third screen offers social feeds, aggregating Twitter and Facebook accounts into one place, and giving priority to video content shared on each site that can be played back on the TV. Also present here (once you've accepted the option to install it) is a Skype app, though it's severely limited without a built-in webcam.

A fourth screen allows access to music, video and photos shared on your network or a locally connected device, displayed in all their glory on the big screen. Recorded TV shows can again be accessed from here too.

A final fifth screen offers a grid-like interface for accessing dedicated apps, covering everything from health and fitness videos to Spotify, a web browser (which is among the best we've tried on a TV), and a great selection of video services on offer including Netflix, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer and iTV Player, as well as Samsung's own 3D channels. A surprisingly robust app store lets you add more apps to this hub, including TV-optimised versions of popular mobile apps like Angry Birds

It's an intuitive layout that can be controlled in a variety of ways, but the whole experience suffers from the use of a slower dual-core processor. While the F8000 has a quad-core processor, the F6400's dual-core means navigating the Smart TV menus (well, all menus on the screen in fact) seem a little sluggish by comparison. Without having tested the two TVs in such close proximity we perhaps wouldn't have noticed it at all, making it a minor grumble, but it's a point where the pricer set's premium value becomes clear.

Remote Controls, Voice Activated Controls and Smartphone Apps:ue32f6400-remotes.jpgAs seems Samsung's standard this year, the UE32F6400 comes with not one, but two remote controls.

One is a standard remote with rubber buttons, including shortcut keys for accessing Smart TV features, as well as playback controls for videos and ARC-connected HDMI devices. It's comfortable and sensibly laid out, and Samsung have sensibly removed the rarely-used "Family Story" shortcut button. It's a shame that there's no dedicated button for accessing aspect ratio, leading to a lengthy trawl through menus to get to it, and the same goes for the Game Mode. Also missing is the backlight, which featured in last year's flagship set's remote, though arguably it's battery draining excess anyway.

The second remote control is smaller and more squat, and is identical to that which comes with the F8000 except that it has a black finish compared to brushed silver finish of the more expensive TV's remote. It features far less physical buttons in favour of a touch panel. It works surprisingly well, particularly when using it like a laptop trackpad for browsing the TV's web connected features. It also features a built-in microphone, meaning you can use the TV's voice-activated controls without shouting across the room, or over the volume of the set itself. However, it's not as instantly familiar an experience to use as the standard remote, and, just like last year, we still found ourselves using the regular remote more often than the touch-enabled one.

While Samsung's motion control system isn't present here, Android and iOS apps can hook up the screen for some second screen functionality. With them you can stream video from the TV tuner to a tablet or smartphone, control the TV from an app or share content from the phone to the TV. Unfortunately, there's no single all-encompassing app yet that covers all features, meaning you've got to use a handful in order to get to all the features. iOS apps are still missing a few features, but Samsung promise to add more features as time goes on. All in, the tablet/smartphone controls are more useful than the gesture and voice counterparts at this stage.

review-line.JPGVerdict:

Samsung's 3D TV range scales nicely this year, with this inexpensive 3D Smart TV retaining many of the very cool features of its more expensive stablemates. 2D performance is excellent, and 3D performance fair. But the real star of the show here is the Smart TV platform, of an incredibly high quality and one that would have come with a massive premium just a few short years ago. If you're looking for a web-connected set that won't break the bank and let you dip into 3D thrills from time to time, this is a great value set to invest in.review-line.JPG

4/5

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REVIEW: Samsung UE55F8000 3D Smart TV

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f8000.jpegreview-line.JPGName: Samsung UE55F8000 3D TV

Type: 55-inch 3D Full HD TV with web connected features, webcam, motion controls and voice activated controls.

Specifications: Click here for full specs

Price as reviewed: Around £2,500

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Samsung's latest edge-lit LED TV has every conceivable feature you could care to find in a modern television, from solid 3D performance through to voice controlled apps and an intelligent, attractive EPG. It's also pretty darn expensive. Are its many bells and whistles worth the extra cash? Read on to find out!

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NOTE: We tested the 55-inch F8000 model. However, with the specifications between this model and the 40 and 46-inch models almost identical, we're confident that our tests with the 55-inch model will reflect a very similar experience were you looking to pick up one of the smaller televisions instead.

Design:
uk_UE55F8000STXXU_548_right_black.jpegThe UE55F800 is a truly beautiful set, with a jaw-dropping design befitting of its price tag. Measuring just under 35mm thick at its plumpest point (and barely 15mm at its thinnest), it's almost impossibly thin given its huge panel size. The image on screen itself is pushed to the fore thanks to a bezel only half a centimetre thick - the closest we've seen a television come to that "bezel-free" dream that all TV manufacturers are chasing at the moment.

Connections on the rear are sensibly accessible from the side, allowing for wall mounting, and can be hidden away with a snap-on magnetic covering panel, which will save from trails of eyesore cabling being visible around the rear should you plan on placing the screen away from a wall.uk_UE55F8000STXXU_549_back_black.jpegThe rear also houses a small control panel on the bottom right hand side should you misplace the sets two remote controls. The topmost edge of the television hides a small retractable webcam that pops out when pressed, smoothly extending to sit flush on the top edge of the screen. The lower edge has a small glowing Samsung logo which, like the boot-up graphic, can be disabled if you find it annoying.uk_UE55F8000STXXU_551_Dynamic_black.jpegIf you're not planning on wall-mounting the set, an attractive curved stand comes with television, arching around the rear of the screen and allowing the television to sit very close to the surface on which it stands, with clearance of little more than an inch. While the stand is stylish and unobtrusive, it's frustratingly balanced. It seems as if all the weight of the set is taken at the front-most points of the stands feet, meaning can lean forwards and topple over if not placed on a wide surface. Though relatively light at 18.3kg with the stand attached (16.8kg without) it'd still do some damage to the screen if it were to fall this way, so think carefully before placing it down.

Connections:

A solid 4 HDMI inputs is what we'd expect from a TV of this size and price, with a wide and useful array of ports and connections on the UE55F8000. The inclusion of both Freeview HD and Freesat tuners are welcome, giving plenty of viewing options to buyers.

  • Component In (Y / Pb / Pr) x 1
  • Composite In (AV) x 1 (Common Use for Component Audio L / R)
  • Digital Audio Out (Optical) x 1
  • Ethernet (LAN) x 1
  • HDMI x 4
  • RF In (Terrestrial / Cable Input) x 1
  • RF In (Satellite Input) x 2
  • USB x 3
  • Headphone x 1
  • Scart x 1
  • CI Slot x 1
  • R Out x 1
  • Built-in Wi-Fi


2D Picture Quality:
uk_UE55F8000STXXU_547_left-angle_black.jpegThe UE55F8000 has a standard 1080x1920 Full HD 1080p resolution, and with Samsung now testing the UHD waters, could well be the company's last flagship at this resolution. If that's the case, it's a fitting swansong - the image quality here is superb.

Usually we're ones to knock a television's preset image settings, but even out of the box the UE55F800 impresses. That's for the most part down to Samsung's refinement of their backlight system. Previous Samsung LED models have struggled to deliver a consistent backlight across the frame, and while the rest of the image has been colourful and punchy, dark scenes suffered from light bleed in and cloudy grey patches as a result. Here, the backlight is consistent right up to its maximum brightness setting, allowing those who enjoy a bright, dynamic image to do so without worry.

With this in mind, Samsung have also introduced a new Cinema Black feature to be used when watching letterboxed 21:9 ratio movies. This allows the set to factor in the black bars above and below a picture before applying any edge LED enhancements, giving solid black bars at the top and bottom of a movie, free of grey light waves and pulses.

With deep blacks and rich contrast performance nailed then, Samsung's stalwart colour accuracy looks as good as ever, with great detail and range in colour tones and subtle shadow details in murkier scenes.

Images are sharp and detailed, crisply bringing out all the finer points of that Blu-ray collection you've been building up. Images in motion look good too, thanks to the use of a native 200Hz panel and a scanning backlight. Though Samsung's more aggressive motion-processing settings still look a little otherworldly, fine-tune them with a customised setting and you'll find even the busiest action scenes moving buttery smooth.

We'd still encourage you to dial the backlight down a bit though if you want the most natural looking image possible, and it's a shame that Samsung still haven't managed to get a really good preset image setting nailed down. A matter of taste we suppose, but expect to do a little tweaking to nail down the most stunning image that this set can offer.

As ever, a HD screen this big will always do best with high-resolution content, and standard definition material can look a little blurry and muddy by comparison. It's no worse than big screen HD rivals though, and the upscaling attempted here by Samsung makes SD content look as good as is possible.

3D Picture Quality:
samsung-f8000-3d.jpgUsing active shutter 3D technology, Samsung's flagship offers some of the finest 3D visuals you'll get inside the comfort of your own home. Watching Pixars Brave 3D, motion processing is now also applied to 3D images too thanks to the quad-core processing engine onboard, removing some of the judder issues that have caused problems on 3D Samsung sets in the past.

Crosstalk issues too are notably reduced, and we saw only one instance in the whole of Brave, with a background moon pictured with a separate shimmery edge. Best of all, the improved backlighting functions of the television and incredibly high brightness levels mean that the dark-tinted glasses barely make an effect on the overall vibrancy of the image.

Two pairs of 3D glasses come with the set, and they're very light and comfortable, with the watch-battery that powers them sitting in snap-down panel over the bridge of your nose. Ideally we'd prefer bigger lenses to help us from peeking out of the immersive 3D visuals, but the ones on offer here are large enough to sit relatively comfortably over a pair of prescription glasses.

Sound:
uk_UE55F8000STXXU_555_Dynamic_black.jpegFlat screen TVs never perform that well in the audio department; when they're this thin, where are the speakers to go?

The UE55F8000 is a breath of fresh air in this regard then. With dedicated bass speakers, it sounds far richer than previous sets of this ilk, offering deeper, punchier sounds and a wide soundscape that nearly matches the scope of the picture on screen.

You'd still do well to match the telly with a soundbar or home cinema set-up, but for once it won't be painful to your ears if it isn't.

Web Connected Smart TV and EPG features:
uk_UE55F8000STXXU_552_Dynamic_black.jpegPacking in both Wi-Fi connectivity and an Ethernet connection, it's easy to get the UE55F8000 hooked up to your home network, letting you access a wide variety of Smart TV content and apps.

It's a radical overhaul for the company's Smart TV service too. As well as connecting up with your household's other smart devices (which we'll talk about in the " Remote Controls, and Motion and Voice Activated Controls and Smartphone Apps" section of this review), Samsung have given the interface a drastic makeover, increasing the homescreen count from one to five.

These homescreens each focus on different aspects of the TV's capabilities. The first is dedicated to live TV, offering a picture-in-picture view of the channel you're currently watching, as well as recommendations based on your viewing habits similar shows as thumbnails surrounding it. Access to the Guide, Timeline and Recorded TV (shows are stored on a connected USB device) sit on the bottom.

The second screen focuses on On Demand TV and movie streaming services, and again offers recommendations based on your viewing habits, improving over time. As it stands, it can be confusing figuring out which service the recommendation comes from (it's a pain to have the premium Acetrax service pop-up when we're only looking for Netflix content), and though a cool feature, it'd benefit from being able to limit the sources the Samsung guide trawls through.

A third screen offers social feeds, aggregating Twitter and Facebook accounts into one place, and giving priority to video content shared on each site that can be played back on the TV. Also present here (once you've accepted the option to install it) is a Skype app, and with the built-in webcam, your set is turned into the sort of video screen that'd make Marty McFly envious.uk_UE55F8000STXXU_554_Dynamic_black.jpegA fourth screen allows access to music, video and photos shared on your network or a locally connected device, displayed in all their glory on the big screen. Recorded TV shows can again be accessed from here too.

A final fifth screen offers a grid-like interface for accessing dedicated apps, covering everything from health and fitness videos to Spotify, a web browser (which is among the best we've tried on a TV), and a great selection of video services on offer including Netflix, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer and iTV Player, as well as Samsung's own 3D channels. A surprisingly robust app store lets you add more apps to this hub, including TV-optimised versions of popular mobile apps like Angry Birds

It's an intuitive layout that can be controlled in a variety of ways as we'll detail next, making for the most attractive and speedy Smart TV interface we've yet had the pleasure to try.

Remote Controls, and Motion and Voice Activated Controls and Smartphone Apps:samsung-f8000-remote.jpgThe UE46ES7000 comes with not one, but two remote controls.

One is a standard remote with rubber buttons, including shortcut keys for accessing Smart TV features, as well as playback controls for videos and ARC-connected HDMI devices. It's comfortable and sensibly laid out, and Samsung have sensibly removed the rarely-used "Family Story" shortcut button. It's a shame that there's no dedicated button for accessing aspect ratio, leading to a lengthy trawl through menus to get to it, and the same goes for the Game Mode. Also missing is the backlight, which featured in last year's flagship set's remote, though arguably it's battery draining excess anyway.

The second remote control is smaller and more squat, and is similar to that which can be found with the ES7000 models. It features far less physical buttons in favour of a touch panel. It works surprisingly well, particularly when using it like a laptop trackpad for browsing the TV's web connected features. It also features a built-in microphone, meaning you can use the TV's voice-activated controls without shouting across the room, or over the volume of the set itself. However, it's not as instantly familiar an experience to use as the standard remote, and, just like last year, we still found ourselves using the regular remote more often than the touch-enabled one.

Two returning features from last year's flagship sets are voice and motion controls, working in tandem with the remote's built in mic and the screen's built-in camera. Both have been improved, but neither is again perfectly implemented yet. Waving a hand to activate a text entry box is far less finicky than navigating with either remote, and is a nice way to guide the cursor around the screen, making it the lesser of two evils here. You still wouldn't want it to be the primary mode of control, and the screen still gets confused if you stand up or stretch, thinking it needs to turn on the motion controls. Voice commands are still ropey too - shows on the screen can annoyingly activate the trigger word, bringing up menus accidentally, while the speech recognition still makes plenty of mistakes. We still think it's the future of TV control, but it's just not quite there yet.

More successful are the Android and iOS apps, which work best on a Samsung mobile phone, but now also offer iPhone functionality too. With them you can stream video from one of the TV tuners to a tablet or smartphone, control the TV from an app or share content from the phone to the TV. Unfortunately, there's no single all-encompassing app yet that covers all features, meaning you've got to use a handful in order to get to all the features. iOS apps are still missing a few features, but Samsung promise to add more features as time goes on. All in, the tablet/smartphone controls are more useful than the gesture and voice counterparts at this stage.

review-line.JPGVerdict:

The UE55F8000 is a real stunner, with magnificent picture quality, surprisingly good speakers, a raft of useful control schemes and a host of well thought out web-connected features. It is prohibitively expensive though, and we'd happily save some cash by ditching the voice and motion gesture controls until they've been perfected. Also of note is the slightly worrying stand design - we're sat looking at the screen as we write this and are still worried it may topple over if brushed against with a modicum of force. But these flaws, on the whole, are minor when put against the many superb features on offer here. If you can afford it, we can't recommend this TV highly enough.review-line.JPG

4.5/5

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samsung-un85s9-4k-top.jpgSamsung's 85-inch S9 UHD 4K TV, first unveiled at this year's CES, has gone on sale at Selfridges. And before you ask, you probably can't afford it.

Setting you back a whopping £35,000, you at least get a lot of TV for your money, with the 85-inch LCD panel running at a sumptuous 3,820 x 2160 resolution. It's also housed in a unique (arguably ugly) frame to support its considerable heft, allowing the TV to be easily rotated and tilted, as well as discreetly hiding a 2.2 speaker array with 120 watt output which should be a fair sight more impressive than what the usual flatscreen manages in terms of audio.

"We are very excited to launch Samsung's 85-inch S9 Ultra High Definition LED TV exclusively in our stores," said Richard Jones, Selfridges Technology Buying Manager (who we can't help but imagine has £-signs where his eyes should be).

"This is the world's first Future Ready UHD TV. The quality and definition breaks new boundaries in the world of HD TV. Our customers expect the latest and finest technology for their homes and personal use. We hope to pioneer the way forward in the latest releases and Samsung is exactly this. I'm sure it will be a huge success."

Catch the TV's CES unveiling in the video below.

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All men at some point or other have experienced 'stage fright' - the fear of not being able to go for a wee in a urinal if other people are around. But what if above the urinals were women looking down on you and your chap as you are trying to do your business?

That's the premise behind LG's latest viral video, Stage Fright - So Real It's Scary 2. Only instead of real women looking directly at you which would be a little weird, it's actually two models who have been filmed in such a way as to appear live to the guys in the toilet. 

The idea is that the colours of LG's 21:9 ultra wide display are so realistic that you actually think there are sexy women on the other side ripping through adverts to take a peak at your manhood.

And the funny thing is that it works! While some of the guys experience stage fright, others are more brave and try to kiss the women or ask for their number. You can see the stunt for yourself in the video below: 


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Sony_Bravia_W900A-top.jpgAll AV-enthusiasts' eyes may be on the forthcoming 4K screen revolution, but if you're on the hunt for a good old Full HD set, Sony's 2013 W-Series Bravia TV line-up has just been priced. And despite the brand's pedigree, they're looking very reasonable priced, starting at an affordable £550.

Looking first at the high-end W905A, available in 55, 46 and 40-inch sizes, it starts at £1,400 and offers "Triluminous Display" LED backlighting for improved colour reproduction, 800Hz motion processing, Active 3D support and a long-duct speaker system for improved bass - a regular bug-bear of flatscreen TVs. NFC content sharing from select mobile devices is also supported.

The W805 and W807 series are next, in 55, 47 and 42-inch sizes. They drop the Triluminous tech, opt for 400Hz motion processing and use passive 3D tech, but retain the NFC sharing options, starting at £1,000.

Finally, the entry level W653 and W654 models, which start at £550. They drop 3D support and NFC tech, and come with 200Hz motion processing.

All the above TVs are web-connected, with access to Sony's Entertainment Network for movie rentals and catch-up TV services.

"Sony continues to deliver pioneering technologies to consumers, providing superb picture quality with rich, vibrant images that bring TV to life," said Chris Trewhitt, Product Marketing Manager TV, Sony UK

"This year, Sony lends its unique audio technologies to the television line, along with engaging experiences such as One-touch mirroring that instantly lets viewers show content from select NFC-enabled phones to the big screen. We invite consumers to go into stores and see it with their own eyes."

84LM9600 Silver -G2.jpgLG is using Gadget Show Live 2013 to showcase what it claims is the first 4K gaming experience in the UK, displaying Codemasters' much anticipated GRID 2 racing game on its 84-inch LM960V TV.

Billed as the world's first ULTRA HD TV by LG, the manufacturer claims the set offers four times the resolution of existing Full HD TVs. Says Craig West, Head of Consumer Marketing for Home Entertainment:

"LG always strives to provide the most engaging, most innovative and most immersive user experience. We are incredibly proud of our 2013 line-up and are particularly excited to bring the first 4K gaming to UK consumers at The Gadget Show this year."

Adds Clive Moody, Senior Executive Producer for GRID 2 at Codemasters: "4K is an exciting evolution for gaming immersion and we're delighted to give players the chance to experience GRID 2 in ULTRA HD."

"Codemasters Racing has a long established reputation for producing racing games on the cutting edge of visual performance, so it made perfect sense for us to work with LG and its state of the art 84-inch ULTRA HD TV to really show what GRID 2 can do."


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Toshiba 58L7 Series (10).jpgAlongside the flagship 4K Series 9 84-inch set, Toshiba have also been recently touting their more modest Series 7 TVs. 1080p Full HD and web connected 58, 50 and 48-inch models will touch down from May 2013.

Each screen houses built-in Wi-Fi, 4x HDMI inputs, 2x USB ports (with support for recording to USB), active shutter 3D (two pairs of glasses ship with the screens) and Toshiba's 200 AMR (Active Motion & Resolution) picture processing technology. Freeview HD is built-in, while there's also support for Intel WiDi screen sharing.

Style-wise, the screen continue in the aesthetic standards established by the Series 9 set, with an aluminium foot extending it's shiny looks up to the lower edge of the screen, while the rest of the reasonably thin bezel is finished in black.

The sets will also feature the new online Cloud TV platform.
tosh-cloud-tv-2.JPGAiming to unify Toshiba's connected TV services, users will be able to personalise their interface through individual logins (with parental controls), organising a homescreen to show apps and video streaming services that best suit their TV viewing habits. As users use the Cloud TV interface the TV will begin to recognise viewing habits too, and provide suggestions of shows to view.

Plenty of the big-name video apps are included, such as Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Blinkbox, while a universal search engine built by Rovi hunts down content across all services, including the built-in Freeview HD. tosh-cloud-tv-1.JPGA full Twitter client, with support for #hashtag searching and picture-in-picture views, is also included, with the app offering up trending shows and topics. Whether or not we'd actually use a Twitter client on our living room screens is another matter when it's so easy to tap away on a laptop or phone, but the picture-in-picture view with a Twitter feed side-by-side a live TV show could prove amusing for "social" shows such as X-Factor.

Skype video calling is also supported (provided you have Toshiba's sold-separately camera unit), as well as Intel's Wi-Di wireless screen sharing protocol.

No word yet on pricing, but we'll keep you posted.

tosh-4k-1.JPGBigger is better, and for Toshiba's forthcoming 84-inch 4K Series 9 Ultra HD TV, that counts for pixel count as well as size. We went eyes-on with the new flagship set at a recent Toshiba press event. Here are our first impressions.

Measuring a massive 84-inches from corner to corner, Toshiba's top-of-the-range 9 Series 4K TV is an intimidating sight to behold. Though also set to be available in 58 and 65-inch sizes, those looking for the "cinema in the living room" experience should look no further. It dwarfs all those who stand next to it (small-of-stature star Tom Cruise was by chance staying at the hotel where Toshiba held the press event, and we can't begin to imagine what he'd have looked like beside the screen, Cuban heels and all).tosh-4k-2.JPGIn terms of design, Toshiba have kept things relatively simple. A solid-looking chrome base supports the gigantic screen (it'd take some work to get this wall mounted), with the chrome styling extending to the lower edge of the screen. The rest of the bezel is finished in black with slightly rounded corners, and though not the thinnest bezel we've ever seen remains unobtrusive due to the sheer size of the screen. 4 HDMI ports will be on offer, as well as 2 USB ports and an SD card reader. Active shutter 3D is also supported, though was not on show during our time with the TV.

It's the 4K resolution that really impresses though. Running at four times that of Full HD for a whopping 3840x2160 resolution count, it provides a pin sharp picture when native resolution content is thrown at it. A show real including colourful demo footage was shown alongside Square Enix's next-gen E3 2012 reel, and the result was often stunning; colours were vibrant while the screen was bright, with movement (aided by the 800 Active Motion and Resolution system) smooth and judder free. tosh-4k-3.JPGThough impressive, it wasn't wholly perfect however. Edge-LED illumination is used to add brightness and backlighting to the panel, though it's intensity often meant it seeped into darker scenes, even in a relatively well-lit room, a problem only intensified when viewing the screen from an acute angle.

Likewise, an 1080p-to-4K upscaling demo on a 58-inch Series 9 model showing off a clip of Disney's John Carter movie proved troublesome. Toshiba's CEVO processing engine added a lot of noise to the image as it tried to push it towards ultra HD standards, while the motion processing effects gave all movement onscreen a watery look. It's common practice for companies to have all their TV's post-processing effects cranked up to the max during demo days, which was likely the case here. We'd imagine with a more subtle approach the issues here wouldn't have been so pronounced, so we'll be keen to see the screen performs in a real-world setting. Given the current lack of 4K content on the market however, the screen will regularly rely on its upscaling chops, so it's worth noting.tosh-cloud-tv-2.JPGBuilt in Wi-Fi powers Toshiba's new Cloud TV interface on the set, a feature that goes right across the company's 2013 connected TV range.

Looking to unify Toshiba's connected TV services, it allows users to personalise their interface through individual logins, with the potential to organise a homescreen to show apps and video streaming services that most interest individual users. As users use the Cloud TV interface the TV will begin to recognise viewing habits too, and suggest recommendations to view.

Plenty of the big-name video apps are included, such as Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Blinkbox, while a universal search engine built by Rovi hunts down content across all services, including the built-in Freeview HD. It sounds great in theory, and if in practice the engine supports metadata pulled in from other connected devices such as Sky TV boxes, Freesat or YouView, it'll really come into its own.tosh-cloud-tv-1.JPGThere's also a full Twitter client, with support #hashtag searching and picture-in-picture views, with the app picking up trending shows and topics. Whether or not we'd actually use a Twitter client on our living room screens is another matter when it's so easy to tap away on a laptop or phone, but the picture-in-picture view with a Twitter feed side-by-side a live TV show could prove amusing for "social" shows such as X-Factor.

Skype video calling is also supported (provided you have Toshiba's sold-separately camera unit), as well as Intel's Wi-Di wireless screen sharing protocol.

Which leaves of course price. Due out in the summer, Toshiba aren't yet revealing how much the Series 9 sets are going to sell for. But considering Sony's comparably sized 4K screen is set to sell in the region of £22,000, don't expect Toshiba's 84-inch offering to come much cheaper.

lg-oled-uk-pre-order.jpgLG's stunning 55-inch OLED TV, as seen earlier this year at the CES tech circus in Las Vegas, is now up for pre-order for UK home cinema fans. The LG 55EM970V can be ordered from Harrods, ready to take home from July.

But it'll cost you. It's listed at a bank-breaking £9,999.99.

You are getting a hell of a lot of TV for the money though. A staggeringly thin set at just 4.5mm thick, it uses LG's WRGB technology (adding a white pixel to the usual red, green and blue array) to deliver top-notch picture quality, along with a wide viewing angle and superb 3D performance with LG's passive Cinema 3D tech.

As a Smart TV, the set is also fully web connected, allowing you to browse the internet, update social networks and check out video content services such as Netflix and LoveFilm.

"We are proud to be the first in the world to offer consumers a big screen OLED TV," said Brian Na, President of LG Electronics UK.

"LG's next generation display is a true game changer, which will forever alter the way we think about TVs. Since OLED TV was first unveiled, we've been working tirelessly to bring what we call 'the ultimate display' to market. I'm sure you'll agree that our 55-inch OLED TV has definitely been worth the wait."
 
Andrew Mackay, UK Commercial Director of Home Entertainment and Home Appliances added: "Following the LG launch and supply to the Korean market earlier in the year, the UK is proud to be the next market to launch LG OLED TV, as this innovative and premium model launches first in Europe to UK consumers."  

toshiba_L9300.jpgYou can hardly call yourself a TV manufacturer at this years CES 2013 conference if you font have a 4K screen on show, hitting real-world stores soon. Toshiba, being the first to bring a 4K set to the consumer market in the shape of the Toshiba 55ZL2 have delivered their latest offering to AV fanatics, showing off the L9300 UHD TV series.

Ranging in size form 58 to 84-inches, the L9300 series use Toshiba's bespoke CEVO 4K Quad+Dual Core Processor and, as there's no commercially available 4K content yet, use Resolution Restoration technology to upscale lower-resolution HD content to fit the 4K display without leading to too messy a picture.

Other specs include a 240 Hz refresh rate, UltraClear Dynamic Noise Reduction, built-in Wi-Fi,
and Miracast.

De rigueur smart TV functionality is also included, throwing in Toshiba's Cloud TV apps platform and DLNA wireless content sharing from computers, smartphones and tablets.

Hitting shelves this summer, there's no pricing available yet. But with the 55Zl2 55-inch model costing a pound shy of £7,000, expect that 84-inch model to be eye-wateringly expensive.

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