This year, Samsung will release more Ultra HD TVs than ever before and the company will call its high-end models S’UHD to signal that TVs are moving beyond just resolution. Most of the new TVs are curved and Samsung is changing its Smart TV platform yet again to one running Tizen. FlatpanelsHD brings you a full overview of Samsung’s 2015 line-up.
Updated 10.10.2015: JS8000 and JU6870 added to the overview Updated 21.07.2015: New affordable JS7000 SUHD model added to overview
Plasma is gone and Samsung’s plans for OLED TVs are still on hold, so in the meantime Samsung is taking the first step into "better pixels"; the parts of the Ultra HD standard that go beyond higher resolution. Samsung is calling it S’UHD. The S does not really stand for anything, but the company is promising amazing picture quality.
S’UHD combines 4K – or Ultra HD – resolution with a wider color gamut very close to DCI-P3, which is used in movie theatres. This means that the TVs are capable of reproducing some of those colors that the standard HD (Rec.709) gamut cannot. The human eye can see far more colors that what is possible on traditional TVs, so this is an important step forward. The flagship JS9500 adds yet another component to the mix; HDR (high dynamic range) for much brighter whites and deeper blacks.
The future of TVs literally looks bright. However, it is important to understand that you will only be able to benefit from the wider color gamut (WCG) and HDR if the movie industry starts releasing movies that conform to these standards. Samsung tells us that the company is working with Hollywood to make it possible, and Netflix is promising HDR later this year, but right now there are no movies available on the consumer market. We recently had a chance to see clips from Life of Pi in HDR and WCG, and it looked amazing.
The flagship JS9500 adds yet another component to the mix; HDR (high dynamic range)
Samsung will release a range of affordable TVs, too, that are called just Ultra HD TVs. This year, Ultra HD will start in the 6 series, which will offer many different design variants. There are also new 7 and 8 series Ultra HD TVs. Most of them are curved, but there is still a chance to grab a flat one if you want it.
And if you can afford it, Samsung even has an 88-inch TV in the extra wide 21:9 aspect ratio, designed by Yves Behar. It is called S9W.
Full HD is on its way out and it is clear that Samsung believes Ultra HD is the future. Ultra HD TVs will be available in sizes from 40 to 88 inch sizes, but there will be no large-size Full HD TVs this year. Full HD is available in the 4, 5, and 6 series TVs but none of them will feature the advanced new picture systems of the Ultra HD TVs.
The other big change for Samsung in 2015 is Tizen. You might have heard of Tizen if you are following Samsung’s efforts in smartphones, but Tizen is also designed for other products. In fact, Tizen is Samsung’s idea of a cross-device operating system that will be used to power all devices from kitchen appliances to mobile devices. And now Tizen is coming to TVs.
All of Samsung’s new Ultra HD TVs will run Tizen
This also means that Samsung will not support Google in its efforts to make Android TV the future of TV, despite its success with Android phones. It might seem like a strange choice for the world largest manufacturer of Android devices, but it is not unexpected. Samsung wants more control over the operating system and ecosystem, and the South Korean company thinks that Tizen is the answer.
Tizen offers a completely revamped user interface with a small app launcher that pops up from the bottom of the screen. It is based on a new open source framework for building apps that is easier and faster, so Samsung is encouraging app developers to get onboard. Can Samsung finally make the Smart TV work in its third try? Time will tell.
All of Samsung’s new Ultra HD TVs will run Tizen, and most of the new Full HD TVs will too, but 2014 and 2013 TVs are stuck on the old platform. Samsung will offer a so-called "Full" One Connect Evolution for the high-end 9 seres TVs that you can buy to upgrade your TV if it has the Evolution port. The "Mini" One Connect can not be upgraded in the coming years.
Tizen will offer apps from the usual suspects, including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Vudu, BBC iPlayer, Plex, and Amazon Instant, but apps will have to be updated for the new platform so some apps from the old TVs might be missing at launch. PlayStation Now – Sony’s game streaming service – is also coming to Samsung’s new TVs.
4K streaming is available from Netflix and Amazon Instant as all of Samsung’s TVs with Tizen support HEVC. Samsung has even added support for VP9 decoding, which means that you can experience YouTube in 4K for the first time on your TV. There is already lots of 4K content available to stream on YouTube.
Many of Samsung’s TVs will offer support for the multi-room system that Samsung started rolling out last year. In essence it allows you to connect speakers wirelessly to the TV. The speakers obviously still need a power cord but wireless audio makes it easier to set up surround systems in your living room without the hassle. Look for Samsung’s "WAM" speakers if you want to learn more.
Some of Samsung’s European TVs will implement twin tuner capabilities to let you record one show while watching another. You just need to buy and connect a USB hard drive to one of the USB ports on the back side of the TV. You can also pause live broadcasts and schedule future recordings, even when the TV is off.
As always, there are lots of buzzwords on the specifications list, including inflated Hz numbers. "Peak Illuminator" is Samsung’s way of saying that a TV can reproduce higher brightness levels, but only the "Ultimate" variant has full HDR (high dynamic range) support. "Precision Black" is a local dimming system for deeper blacks, but only the "Pro" variant is full-array local dimming. Samsung is using quantum dots to increase the color gamut in its S’UHD TVs, but the company prefers calling it "Nano crystals".
Like all other TV manufacturers, Samsung has more or less forgot about 3D. In fact, Samsung is not even talking about 3D and is no longer highlighting 3D in its specifications list. To be clear; 3D is still integrated in some of the TVs but the industry is not really focusing on it any longer. It is probably worth pointing out that no 4K 3D standard exists yet and not even the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray standard will support 3D in resolutions higher than HD.
Samsung’s 2015 TVs will start shipping in the US and Europe over the next couple of weeks. This overview will be updated as we get more information.
Samsung JS9500 (4K)
JS9500 is Samsung’s flagship TV for 2015. It has Ultra HD resolution, full support for HDR (high dynamic range) and an expanding color gamut. This is phase 2 of the Ultra HD standard and Samsung internally refers to it as "the whole nine yards".
JS9000 is another member of the S’UHD line-up, meaning that it will also be able to reproduce a wider color gamut. It does have HDR support (with edge LEDl), but still offers all of the same features, including the new Tizen TV platform.
JU7100 (in the US) and JU7000 (in Europe) are flat Ultra HD TVs, and it could be big sellers for 2015. This model will be available in a range of sizes from 40 to 85 inches with Smart TV. It is also Evolution Kit ready.
Samsung added a new TV in autumn 2015 called JU6800. It has the same quantum dot technology as the SUHD TVs. So why is it not part of that line-up= No 10-bit panel and no Peak Illuminator, says Samsung.