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Samsung's JS9000 SUHD TV offers curves, quantum nanocrystals

Samsung's lineup of high-end SUHD TVs includes the JS9000 series, which comes packed with futuristic features including a curved screen and quantum-dot nanocrystals.

Samsung


LAS VEGAS -- SUHD. Curved. Tizen. Quantum-dot nanocrystals. In terms of futuristic-sounding TV technology, Samsung has outdone itself again.

The JS9000 is the spiritual successor to the 2014 HU9000 , and stands as middle child in the company's new high-end lineup of SUHD TVs. The "S" doesn't stand for anything, according to Samsung, but the UHD is longhand for 4K. Along with the curved JS9000, which comes in 78-, 65-, 55-, and 48-inch sizes, there's also the flat JS8500 and the high-end JS9500 .

So what makes them "S"? In two confusing words: quantum dots. The dots themselves are actually nanocrystals -- really, really small crystals -- applied to the blue LEDs that comprise the backlights of these LCD TVs. They emit specific wavelengths of red and green which, combined with the blue LEDs, can achieve brighter images and a wider color gamut than conventional LED-backlight technology.

Samsung says its SUHD sets achieve up to 2.5 times the light output of standard LED LCDs, although I'm guessing the high end of that number applies only to the full-array JS9500; the edge-lit JS9000 should be dimmer.

It also says their color approaches, but doesn't quite achieve 100 percent coverage of, the DCI color space, which is significantly wider than the Rec 709 color space used for almost all in-home content today (in other words the wider gamut isn't much use today, despite Samsung mentioning one-off collaborations with Fox in its press materials). Beyond the dots, SUHD TVs also employ a new panel technology designed to further improve contrast in bright rooms.

That all sounds great, and we're excited to test the SUHD TVs in the lab, especially given the excellent color we saw from Sony's Quantum Dot TV. But we still don't expect SUHD to beat the picture quality of OLED. They're still LED LCD TVs, after all, with all of the flaws of that technology.

While it does include hardware-based local dimming from its edge-lit LED backlight, the JS9000 doesn't have the full-array backlight found on the JS9500. It also lacks that model's chamfered bezel. Otherwise it's packed with features, starting with a full-fledged OneConnect box that allows upgrades of both connectivity and processing, as well as an octa-core processor.

Thanks in part to exclusive deals, all of Samsung's 4K UHD TVs get access to more 4K streaming video services than other brands. They include Comcast, DirecTV and M-Go. The latter requires one of Samsung's UHD video packs to allow downloads of select 4K movies. Of course they also get 4K streams from Netflix and Amazon, and offer the HEVC decoding and HDMI 2.0/ HDCP 2.2 connectivity found on all major-brand 4K TVs.

The JS9000 shares with many 2015 Samsung sets an all-new Smart TV system powered by Tizen, Samsung's open-source operating system used on smart watches and a few phones. Highlights include a simpler, one-screen user interface, enhanced video sharing with Samsung phones, a Sports Live app with live games and stats on the same screen, a new Milk Video platform with clips from the web and content partners, and an alarm function that provides time, weather and other wake-up accouterments. Potentially more useful is the ability to work with PlayStation Now, providing console-free game play vis the TV itself.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung shifts Smart TVs to Tizen
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In case you're wondering, Samsung didn't announce pricing on this or any of its other 2015 TVs; it typically waits until March, right before the TVs ship, to do so. For what it's worth, however, a Samsung rep told CNET informally that he expects the JS9000 to sell for around the same price as the 2014 HU9000, keeping it on the digestible end of exorbitant -- and nowhere near the price of OLED.

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