Samsung has officially announced pricing and availability on its 2011 television lineup, many of which are shipping now.
David KatzmaierEditorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
ExpertiseA 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.Credentials
Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Update August 16, 2011 Since this article posted we have reviewed a number of 2011 Samsung TVs, but we can't review them all. We can speculate, however, as to how some of the un-reviewed models, further detailed below, compare with the ones we did review.
We reviewed the UND8000 series and expect it to perform similarly or somewhat better than the UND7000, and we expect both to have similar uniformity problems.
We reviewed the UND6400 series and expect it to perform similarly or somewhat better any of the other LED series mentioned below, although the spec sheet of the UND6300 and UND6000 are close enough that we expect the difference between them and the UND6400 to be minimal.
Among plasmas we've reviewed the PND8000 and PND7000 series. We expect both to perform better than any of the other series, although we can't say how much better.
The bulk of Samsung's 2011 HDTV announcements were made at CES, but today at a New York press event it fleshed out the remainder of the details, including pricing and availability. All of the series detailed today are available between now and the end of April, although we do expect the company to announce more TVs later in the year.
Below we gather all of the estimated selling prices and availability info we were given about Samsung's plasma and LED-based LCD TVs series, along with top-level features differences.
Update 1:30 p.m. PT We had the chance to speak to Samsung's product specialist and he told us about some of the differences between the series and expanded on some of the features. Updates are in italics below. We've also uploaded the company's master feature comparison charts for both LEDs and plasmas.
Samsung UND8000 series: Flagship successor to the UNC8000 series. Includes "micro dimming" LED backlight, QWERTY-equipped 2-sided remote (originally it was supposed to have a touchscreen, but the shipping version does not). One of three Best of CES 2011 nominees for the TVs category. Samsung says the new dimming technology has more zones than the 2010 version, and touts a new light dispersal plate said to improve uniformity significantly. We checked out a company demo and that certainly seemed to be the case. Also, the LEDs have been moved from the top and bottom to the sides, which should help horizontal black letterbox bars appear darker. We've been told we'll be receiving a UND8000 review sample in the next week.
Samsung UN46D8000: 46-inch, available February, $2,799
Samsung UN55D8000: 55-inch, available February, $3,599
Samsung UN60D8000: 60-inch, available June, $4,299
Samsung UN65D8000: 65-inch, available June, $5,399
Samsung UND7000 series: Least expensive LED with ultrathin, 0.2-inch bezel and 240Hz refresh rate. Also includes the QWERTY flip-remote found on the D8000 series. Confusingly, marketing will refer to the UND7000 as having "dimming plus." Despite that name the UND7000 does not have local dimming of the LED backlight; that feature is reserved for the UND8000, alone among Samsung's 2011 LEDs. The "plus" is said to refer to a local contrast enhancer processor similar to the one found on the PND8000 plasma. My preliminary take is that the UND7000 will perform somewhat worse than the extremely expensive UND8000.
Samsung UN46D7000: 46-inch, available March, $2,299
Samsung UN55D7000: 55-inch, available March, $3,099
Samsung UN60D7000: 60-inch, available June, $3,799
Samsung PND8000 series: Flagship successor to the superb PNC8000 series. Includes the "LCE (Local Contrast Enhancer)," a defeatable video-processing option that is said to analyze different zones on the screen and optimize their contrast locally. Otherwise it should offer very similar quality to the D7000. Includes a 2-sided remote with QWERTY keyboard.
Samsung PN51D8000: 51-inch, available April, $2,299
Samsung PN59D8000: 59-inch, available April, $2,999
Samsung PN64D8000: 64-inch, available April, $3,799
Samsung PND7000 series: Step-down successor to PNC7000 series. Improved contrast ratio compared with D6500; charcoal bezel compared with silver on PND8000. The PND7000 and PND8000 have the same panel, different from the lower-end models, and we assume of better quality. Both have the "Real Black Filter" for better black levels in high ambient light. Samsung says black levels have been improved significantly throughout the line, reaching the 0.004 FTL MLL we measured in the Panasonic VT25 from 2010. My preliminary take is that the PND7000 hits the performance/features sweet spot for videophiles and plasma fans.
Samsung PN51D7000: 51-inch, available April, $1,899
Samsung PN59D7000: 59-inch, available April, $2,599
Samsung PN54D7000: 64-inch, available April, $3,399
Samsung PN51D550: 51-inch, available March, $1,299
Samsung PN59D550: 59-inch, available March, $1,899
Samsung PN64D550: 64-inch, available March, $2,699
Samsung PND490 series: Least expensive Samsung plasma with 3D (all higher-series plasmas have 3D); 720p resolution. Samsung says this plasma's 3D resolution, despite being "only" 720p, surpasses that of passive 3D TVs. This model and all other 2011 plasmas (aside from the D450) have CinemaSmooth processing for what the company promises is correct 1080p/24 cadence, and it says that engaging CS no longer affects black level performance.