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Samsung Ultra HDTV will be on sale in Australia 'first half' of 2013

Samsung has revealed a striking design for its 85-inch Ultra HDTV, and shown a new look and functionality for its Smart TV Hub.

Samsung has revealed a striking design for its 85-inch Ultra HDTV, and shown a new look and functionality for its Smart TV Hub.

Samsung's gallery design Ultra HDTV inexplicably showing the Harbour Bridge to a Las Vegas audience. (Credit: Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

As expected, Samsung has thrown its hat into the Ultra HD ring, with an 85-inch panel sporting an iconoclastic design that the company is calling "gallery design". A 110-inch model will also be available for viewing at the Samsung booth from tomorrow.

Also shown at the press conference for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 was a new flagship LED TV, the F8000, available in a range of sizes, from 46 to 75 inches. The TV is powered by a quad-core processor, and features better support for streaming video codecs.

OLED had less of an emphasis, with Samsung recommitting to a 55-inch model to be made available this year. The company did discuss its multi-view technology for OLED: specially designed 3D glasses with in-built ear buds will allows users to watch two different video sources, complete with separate audio, on the same OLED TV.

Samsung was particularly eager to discuss its new-look Smart Hub user interface. The UI will have voice recognition built in, with natural speech support. The S Recommendation service will learn from your viewing habits, and make content suggestions based on experience. The hub will now have five simplified screens to scroll through, with the default home screen being a "what's playing now" style of EPG.

Samsung Australia's national sales and marketing manager of A/V, Brad Wright, spoke to CNET Australia after the conference about local availability, saying that he expects the LED F8000 to be in Australian stores from early Q2, although no pricing was hinted at.

The Ultra HD offering would be seen in Australia during the first half of the year, although, again, Wright stressed that it is too early for pricing to even be guessed at.

In regards to the Smart Hub changes, Wright said that Samsung has been working with Macquarie University for some time now to ensure that the natural speech recognition will be optimised for the Australian idiom and accent. Partnerships have been made with local channels and content providers to guarantee that the EPG component will be ready to work in Australia at launch.

Sadly, the Smart Evolution Kits — the hardware upgrade patches for the 2012 Samsung smart TV range — will not be available until the middle of the year, and, again, no pricing is available.

Nic Healey travelled to CES 2013 as a guest of LG Australia.

More scenic Sydney shots in Ultra HD. (Credit: Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

Nic Healey attended CES 2013 as a guest of LG.