Samsung TVs 2012: Micro dimming LEDs, blacker plasmas, gesture control

CNET compares the 2012 lineups of major TV makers based on their CES announcements.

Samsung's top-end LED-based LCD packs even more into its thin cabinet. Samsung

The chart has been updated with information from Samsung's March 7th line show but the rest of this article (aside from the Changelog below) has not. See the line show article for the latest information on Samsung's 2012 TVs.

Samsung will ship gobs of different TV models in 2012, and CES provided our first peek at the details.

Unfortunately the country's best-selling TV maker chose to keep many of those details under wraps in its CES press releases, I'm assuming because it would rather try to dominate the news cycle in early March at its now traditional media event ( here's 2011's edition ). Your intrepid CNET reporter did manage to wring some information from Samsung's reps before and during the show, however, which I've gathered in blog form and now as an easy-to-read table.

You won't find these TVs described in detail on Samsung's Web site yet. The company, like all of those I'm profiling in tables over the next few days, holds back its Web site updates until the 2012 models start shipping.

Anyway, here's the table. Scroll lower in the post for more detail and click through to the series links for even more, including those patented in-depth blog posts.

Notes:

  1. This info is based on public CES announcements as well as information given by the manufacturer to CNET. A lot of it isn't available from other sources. It's accurate as far as I know, but not officially official. I'll update it when I hear about a change. And if you copy it, please give CNET attribution.

  2. An entry of "X" or a brief description (e.g. "0.2 inch") means the TV has the feature. A blank entry means it does not. An entry of "TBD" means I don't know yet.

  3. Samsung's edge-lit local dimming is called "micro dimming" and historically (like all edge-dimming schemes) it's been less effective than the full-array variety in our tests. The "ultimate" is supposedly an improvement on the "plus," which is in turn better than "plus" in some way we don't know about yet. All are different in as-yet unspecified ways from the "plus" found on the 2011 UND8000.

  4. Click the following for more on full vs. edge LED and passive vs. active 3D. All 2012 Samsung 3D TVs will ship with two pairs of active glasses.

  5. The 2011 version of Samsung's Smart TV had plenty of content but seemed too cluttered to us. The company claims to have cleaned up the interface and allowed more customization.

  6. Samsung will also offer a new touch-pad remote control on certain high-end models, although it didn't confirm which ones.

  7. As for plasmas, the Real Black panel is said to improve depth of black by 10 percent. The local contrast enhancer is similar to that feature on the 2011 PND8000 (which didn't improve image quality). I don't know about any differences between the PNE6500 and PNE7000, or about any picture quality differences between the PNE7000 and PNE8000, although the 8000 does have a black bezel (finally!).

  8. I don't list refresh rate because frankly, I don't think it matters. The same goes for numerous other specs you won't find on these tables. The exception is the EH5300 and EH5000 series, where the (60Hz) refresh rate note was added to differentiate them from the step-up EH6000 series, which is 120Hz.

  9. I expect Samsung to announce additional mid- and entry-level LED series in March and throughout the year; I didn't have enough information to include them in the chart. The same goes for screen sizes for the "Not included" series.

  10. Please don't ask for other information, including dimensions, contrast ratios, whether these will be better or worse than last year, or whether Apple will introduce a TV in time for Christmas. This table, and the blog posts behind it (feel free to click through!) represent pretty much the extent of my/CNET's current knowledge about Samsung's 2012 TVs.

Want to check out the 2012 lineups of other TV makers?

Changelog:

  • Jan 27: Per Samsung, screen sizes added/subtracted for a few series, Micro Dimming terminology changed on UNES7500 and uncertainty regarding touchpad remote added to Note No. 7.
  • Jan 30: Corrected typos in chart; see first comment below (thanks to reader jladis).
  • Feb 14: Added pricing and EH models per hdguru.com, modified notes accordingly.
  • Feb 27: Updated pricing for plasma and LED models, added EH5000 series and 32-inch member of EH5300 series, modified 59-inch plasma screen sizes and product names to 60-inch, all per hdguru.com.
  • March 3: Per Samsung, updated pricing to "Suggested selling price;" confirmed release dates; corrected that EH series LCD are full-array, not edge; removed 50-inch UNES7100, 64-inch PN64E6500 and 55, 60 and 65-inch UNEH5300s; added UNES6600 series, 32-inch UNES6500, PNE550 series, PN51E490 and PNE450 series.
 

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