Samsung pushes plasmas

For those on the hunt for large plasma technology Samsung’s top plasma introduction was the 80-inch HP-R8082, with1920x1080p resolution, 549 billion displayable colors, and a contrast ratio of 2,000:1. It will be available in February and pricing is still to be determined. But the company also demonstrated a 102-inch version, placing it a hair behind Panasonic’s 103-inch version.

Samsung s other introductions included the HP-S5053, a 50-inch plasma with a new technology called FilterBright. The company says the anti-reflective film absorbs external light and transmits internal light, improving the set’s performance in environments with large amounts of ambient light and daytime conditions. The $3,999 set will be available in May 2006 and also features a contrast ratio of 10,000:1

Those looking for smaller plasma screens will want to check out Samsung s three 42W-inch integrated plasma displays that will be shipping in March. A Digital Cable Ready model with dual HDMI/HDCP inputs is priced at $3,499; one model with ATSC tuning and PSIP programming guide at $2,999; and one integrated enhanced definition DTV (EDTV) plasma set with ATSC tuning, PSIP programming guide and HDMI and PC inputs is priced at $1,999.

But the technology made a step forward at CES. Samsung rolled out an industry first for DLP sets: the HL-S5678W, a 56-inch DLP set that has an LED light source engine. The company says LED technology lengthens the life of the engine to 20,000 hours without any brightness degradation while increasing the amount of colors the set can reproduce. It will be available in April for $3,999.

The company also introduced its largest DLP set: the HL-R7178W, a 71-inch 1080p DLP set. The $4,999 set has a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and weighs less than 130 pounds. Also available is the HL-S6187W, a 61-inch set that will cost $3,399 when it is available in April.

Samsung s is the LN-S8281D LCD set and pricing and availability are still to be announced but don t expect a price tag less than $10-$15K. Sony s intro was part of its Bravia line and it too was working out pricing and availability.

Samsung also introduced a new LCD panel (32-inch LN-S3251D, available in June for $1,999) that exemplifies the big trend at this year s show: inter-device connectivity. The set includes a docking station for Apple iPod and other portable audio devices so that owners can hook their iPod up to the TV, pull up the iPod menu on the screen of the TV, and control the iPod with the TV remote.

Samsung also introduced the BD player, a Blu-ray disk player that will retail for approximately $1,000 when it ships in early spring. The player also features two lasers, one red and one blue, so that it can play older DVDs and CDs.

Samsung also introduced a fliptop DirecTV receiver with an integrated 10.2-inch LCD panel making it ideal for placement on countertops, garages or other players that aren t set-top box friendly. It s expected to be available in March for approximately $499.

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