CES 2010: Touring Samsung’s Booth

Posted Sun Jan 10, 2010 at 04:00 PM PST by Mike Attebery

I had an opportunity to go through Samsung’s booth and check out their new LCDs and Plasmas, the amazing touch screen remote, and exactly what 2D to 3D conversion looks like.

Samsung shows off their advances in technology in a way that other companies don’t, but in a way that makes it impossible to ignore. Simply, they take their new 2010 television and place it next to a comparable Samsung set from 2009 and let you judge for yourself. The difference was small in some cases, and staggering in others.

Demos were set up to show off Samsung’s new 240Hz motion smoothing technology, advanced color depth and the increased sharpness of their new televisions. Of course, we only have Samsung’s word that the televisions are set up in the same way, but the final demo was absolutely convincing.

To demonstrate the difference in black levels between the older and newer sets, Samsung had set up two displays side by side showing the same video, a fireworks display. While the 2009 Samsung television looked good, the 2010 model – a 9000 series LED backlit LCD – put it to shame.

3D sets were on display at every turn, which makes sense with a good chunk of Samsung’s new TVs being 3D ready. Samsung built booths around the sets to avoid the screen glare that is so detrimental to a 3D picture. The images were at least as good as on any other set at the show, but they still seemed a bit flickery.

Samsung’s booth is the first I visited to show off real time 2D to 3D video conversion, a technology that can be used to watch older content in 3D. It’s not the same 3D effect that you’ll see on content made for 3D though, it’s a different experience.

While films like Avatar and Monsters vs Aliens have images popping out of the screen at the viewer, anything converted from 2D to 3D only pops in. It gives a sense of depth, as if you're looking in through a window.

The example they showed was of a soccer game, and since sports would make for one of the more interesting 3D viewing experiences, it made a fine sample. The score and the banner graphics detailing the game stats, player names and the like stayed at the same level as the television. That is to say that they were the closest thing to me as I watched.

The field stretched deep into the background, creating the experience of sitting in the stands and watching the game live, but with a few floating pieces of information. To be honest, I much preferred the pop-in 2D to 3D upconversion to the pop out 3D content. It felt much more natural.

Samsung had a few surprises up their sleeves this year, but the most intriguing was that of their new touch screen remote. It comes with the 9000 series of LED LCD televisions, and can be purchased separately for use with the 7000 and 80000.

As we found out at the beginning of the show, you’ll be able to stream content from your TV to your remote, making it a secondary display perfect for trips to the kitchen and bathroom. You can even watch another channel on the remote, so you don’t have to interrupt viewing to check the weather or sports scores. Today we found out just what else it can do.

The remote connects to your television via a WiFi connection, which means it can move with you throughout the house. It’s also DLNA compatible, meaning that it can stream video from your networked PC or storage device. The 9000 series remote is less like a traditional remote and more like a handheld tablet with remote capability.

I also had a chance to take a look at some of the other products Samsung will be launching. Touch screen laptops were abundant and interesting, but representatives said that they won’t be hitting the US this year. There was also an impressive range of netbooks built for a variety of uses, including one that locks the hard drive as soon as it detects fast motion to ensure that no data is lost when it hits the ground.

What I didn’t expect to like though, was their new transparent OLED MP3 player. It’s a touch screen player that you can see right through and control from either side of the screen. The screen is transparent, but not clear, so text is still simple to read. It’s incredibly slick.

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Tags: CES 2010, Samsing, Industry Trends, 3D (all tags)