Samsung to ship smaller 4K TVs

The F9000 series includes 55-inch and 65-inch 4K (UHD)-resolution televisions, selling for $5,500 and $7,500 respectively.

Samsung's 4K F9000 series will ship in early August. Samsung

The onslaught of Ultra High Definition televisions continues today with Samsung's announcement of slightly more affordable, smaller-screen versions of its original 4K, $40K, 85-inch behemoth.

The 55-inch UN55F9000 and 65-inch UN65F9000 will be available for preorder by U.S. customers starting July 21, shipping in early August. They'll cost $5,499 and $7,499 respectively. That's about $500 more than Sony's 4K X900 series , which is shipping now. LG, for its part, showed smaller 4K TVs at CES , but hasn't shipped any to the U.S. yet. Update 7/15: LG's smaller 4K TVs are shipping now too.

Aside from their higher resolution, the F9000 models seem like spitting images of the UNF8000, complete with the design and features (picture quality-related and otherwise) we liked so much on that set. A large part of the F8000's excellent picture quality can be attributed to its Precision Black Local Dimming with Micro Dimming Ultimate, the same edge-lit local dimming system used by the new F9000 models.

The F8000 scored a 10 in both of our subcategories of Design and Features, thanks to its stunning, minimalist external appearance and maximalist feature set. The F9000 has the same design and nearly identical features, including the most comprehensive Smart TV suite we've tested, built-in camera for gesture control, voice recognition, touch-pad remote and active 3D technology. For more details, check out our F8000 review.

The F9000 looks like basically the same TV, but with a 4K-resolution screen. 4K, officially known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), provides four times as many pixels as standard 1080p. That means a pixel count of 3,840x2,160. The advantage, according to 4K's proponents, is an even sharper picture. One problem, according to us, is that you'll have to sit very close, especially to a screen this small, to appreciate the difference (check out my review of the 50-inch Seiki for a taste). There are many other issues, too, to the extent that we currently consider 4K TVs pretty stupid .

Unlike Sony , Samsung hasn't tried to address one big issue with 4K: lack of actual 4K content. Of course the F9000 will convert standard high-def sources for display on its 4K screen, via a fancy-sounding process. "The F9000 UHD TV utilizes Samsung's proprietary Quadmatic Picture Engine, a four-step process including signal analysis, noise minimization, UHD up-scaling and detail enhancement to seamlessly upconvert SD, HD or Full HD content to UHD-level picture quality." Other 4K TV makers, like Sony and LG, tout similar processing.

Another difference between the F8000 and F9000 is a beefier sound system. Per the press release: "The F9000 UHD TV comes with two-way 2.2 channels of 70-watt sound, which is more than three times better than a typical TV."

We look forward to reviewing the F9000 when it becomes available -- although I can tell you right now it's unlikely to score as high as the F8000 in our Value subcategory.

 

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