Samsung's Press Conference - CES 2011

Posted Wed Jan 5, 2011 at 06:34 PM PST by Dick Ward

Samsung’s up next with a press event that holds more than a few surprises and reiterates the same push towards interconnected “smart” products that the whole industry seems to be pushing towards. There was also a complete absence of Google TV.

The Samsung press event is quite literally standing room only. People are packed in here like it’s a subway car and things are looking bad. I got here an hour early and I just made it in. There are a few hundred people outside waiting to get in too and they’re pissed. Understandably so. Samsung’s press events have been among the most popular year after year and it’s time they get into a bigger room.

There’s a lot on the stage, including an HDTV or two, some phones, Blu-ray players and a tablet. There are also two chairs, since the event is being presented as some sort of strange talk show. It’s a unique choice, but not a very good one.

It all starts off with a recap of 2010, which was an incredibly successful year for Samsung. 3D may not have blown anyone away sales-wise, but Samsung defends it. Defensive is the right word for it too – while the rest of the conference was very put-on, the representatives actually seemed quite passionate about the lack of faith in 3D.

LG was all about smart products and they’re not alone. Samsung is focusing on what they’re calling “smart devices” this year.

Samsung boasts that they’ll have even more 3D screens this year than they did last year. This includes larger screens above 55 inches. Also in the plans are smart sets. 2/3 of their new TVs will be smart TVs.

Samsung has always been a company that’s about style as much as about content. Their new sets are absolutely gorgeous thanks to a 0.2 inch bezel. Both the new 7000 and 8000 sets will have this tiny bezel.

Plasmas got larger – sort of. Samsung’s new tech allows them to increase the size of the screen without having to increase the size of the TV. They’re calling it “Plasma Plus One.” More screen without a bigger TV. Not bad.

Samsung’s plasma’s are certainly well worth while, but boy do those LCDs look good. Even from the back of a mid-sized conference room, they were bright and clear. I’m definitely excited to see what they look like up close.

For all the rumors and speculation there was a complete lack of Google TV at the event. It’s all about Samsung Smart TV.

One cool new technology that we really need to go hands on with is the One Foot Connection. It allows you to automatically connect a /Samsung device to your wireless network by simply holding it within a foot of an already connected Samsung device. Sounds like that could save a lot of headache.

Samsung is also introducing a feature that will let you search for video across all platforms, including online sources and your PC. There’s no word as to whether or not DVRs will be included in the search.

Samsung revealed the winner of their app competition and it left me feeling unimpressed. It’s a drawing game similar to Pictionary that requires a connected smartphone for the drawing. Samsung is high on the bright future of their apps, but there really wasn’t a lot of innovation from the apps they announced.

Samsung earned quite a bit of praise last year for their touchscreen remote and they’re improving on it this year with a new one that even allows you to watch different programming than what’s on the TV you’re controlling.

Samsung talked about the Samsung Galaxy Player, which is essentially a smaller version of the Galaxy tab. It’s already out in Asian markets, but will be hitting the US in 2011.

In addition to everything announced by Samsung today, they teased two things for tomorrow. The first is a new TV accessory that they say will get everybody excited. The second is one or more new content providers that help to provide access from the cloud.

Tags: CES 2011, Samsung, HDTVs, 3D, Blu-ray Players (all tags)