When Samsung first announced its lineup of SUHD "the S doesn't stand for anything" TVs at CES 2015, we expected their serious specifications to stipulate stupendous spending. And Samsung has succeeded in spades.
According to a leak from hdguru.com, a site with an excellent record of calling these sorts of things around this time of year, industry sources tag the new sets with a starting price of $2,500 for the cheapest model, a 48 incher.
Meanwhile the least-expensive member of the best-quality series is a 65-inch set, for a cool six grand. Here's the full breakdown:
Samsung SUHD TV leaked prices
Of course those prices will fall throughout the year, but by how much could vary widely. The 2014 UN65HU9000 started at $4,999 and now sells for $4,499, a discount of only 10 percent. Meanwhile the UN65HU8550 fell from $3,999 to $2,997, a 25 percent drop.
Those prices are UPP, so they're set by the manufacturer and vendors have little room for further discounts.
Confirming what a Samsung rep told me at CES, initial pricing for the 2015 JS9000 and 2014 HU9000 series of curved 4K TVs matches up almost perfectly. The same goes for pricing on the 2015 JS8500 and 2014 HU8550 series of flat 4K TVs.
Despite the SUHD name and sure-to-be-ceaseless sales spiels slinging its superiority, it's just another LCD TV at heart. Hey, it worked when Samsung rebranded LCD TVs with LED backlights as "LED TVs," so there's no reason the dominant company in selling TVs can't pull the same trick with "SUHD TVs."
And who knows, they may just prove to be a stunningly super-stupendous LCD after all. The JS9500 series looked great in limited demos I saw at CES -- but then again I'd expect nothing less from a manufacturer-run demo of a ridiculously expensive TV boasting full-array local dimming and quantum dots and specialized HDR content.
Whether SUHD can beat out OLED, Samsung's stated goal, is doubtful given OLED's superiority (so far) to any display technology based on LCD. Leaked pricing for LG's new 65-inch 4K OLED TVs isn't that much higher than that of the UN65JS9500. And best of all for curve-averse videophiles with money to burn, the LG comes in a flat version.
Meanwhile, I expect the JS9000 and JS8500 to perform very similarly to their 2014 counterparts, which were no slouches but not the best 4K LCDs of the year. I'll be particularly curious to compare them against Samsung's non-S UHD TVs, such as the flat 4K U7100 series, the least expensive to offer hardware-based local dimming.
Official pricing should come from Samsung in mid-March if past years are any indication, with TVs to ship in the following weeks. Vizio, which skipped CES this year, is likely announcing much of its 2015 lineup in April, and I expect LG's new OLEDs sometime this summer. Soon enough we'll be able to put the new TVs of 2015 to the test.