Samsung Booth Tour CES 2011

Posted Fri Jan 7, 2011 at 09:50 AM PST by Dick Ward

It turns out there’s a Google TV device or two after all, plus what just might be the best looking TV at the show.

Samsung’s press conference was pretty impressive with only a few lamer notes. The booth was much of the same, and included not only the great gear we saw at the press event, but a surprise or two.

The first new surprise from Samsung was the SP-A8000, a 3D projector that provides full 1080p HD in both 2D and 3D modes. It pumps out 1,000 lumens and offers a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. All those numbers are fine, but the important thing is how it looks, and it looked good. Like all of Samsung’s 3D products, it uses Active Shutter Glasses.

There wasn’t a lot exciting from Samsung as far as Blu-ray players were concerned. In fact, that goes for most tech companies as well. Blu-ray players were there, but they really weren’t highlighted and most didn’t offer much outside of the capabilities of 2010’s models.

I did get to take a look at Samsung’s ultra-thin 3D Blu-ray player. As promised, it’s very thin. The rest of the players weren’t much to write home about until I happened upon one that I definitely didn’t expect to see.

Occupying a fairly nondescript space were two devices that Samsung is currently referring to as experimental. One a set-top box and the other a Blu-ray player – both equipped with Google TV.

It’s interesting to note that while Google TV devices were present, Samsung didn’t even talk about them it their press conference. They did, however, talk about their own smart TV initiative. This could either be an indicator of the direction Samsung is planning on going or simply a change because of the reported Google TV delay.

Of course, no tour of the Samsung booth would be complete without a look at the company’s LED backlit 7000 and 8000 series.

The look of the new sets is amazing. They’re ridiculously thin and have a nearly invisible bezel to match. They make other TVs – even 2011 models from competitors – look bulky in comparison.

It’s not just the set itself that looks good either. The 8000 series, which features a local dimming technology that the 7000 does not, has without a doubt the best looking picture I’ve seen so far at the show.

The colors are incredibly rich and bright in the 8000 series, and the blacks are darker than any other LCD at the show. If I didn’t know better, I would have said I was looking at a higher end plasma set. Of course, that’s under the lighting conditions of the show floor and not in a typical home environment.

As always, you can swing over to The Bonus View for photos from the show floor, including plenty from Samsung which should be posting on Friday.

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Tags: Samsung, CES 2011, HDTVs, Google TV (all tags)