Samsung S9 Series First Impressions Review
With models up to a whopping 110 inches, the S9 series by Samsung is the belle of the TV ball at CES.
At yesterday's CES, amid frenzied fanfare and a full-blown firestorm of competing 4K displays, Samsung debuted its flagship UHD TV at a press conference. After waiting for the camera flashes and journalistic feeding frenzies to die down, we were able to get a look at this monstrous new television and its impressive specs and features.
Yea, it looks a bit like a gigantic easel, but wait until you hear what's inside.
The very first thing you'll notice about the this new TV is the fact that the support structure makes it look very much like an easel. However, this is not some ugly hunk of plastic with little function. Oh no: hidden inside are two woofers, two tweeters, and two midrange speakers, all powered by a 120-watt amplifier. This stand is anything but a useless hunk of junk. It's nice to see so much effort pouring into improving onboard sound on televisions, but then again, chances are good that if you can afford a 110-inch TV like the one we saw on the show floor, you're going to go all-out on buying a home theater system too.
Because of the sheer size of the screen, the stand is very necessary unless you find a way to mount a 110-inch screen to your wall. And even though the stand takes up a lot of space, the overall look of it is not aesthetically distressing, and should look the part in any modern room. Samsung is also making 60, 65, 75, and 85-inch versions of this television, complete with the same stand for each.
Possibly one of the more notable innovations to mention here is the introduction of the One Connect system, which takes all of your audio/visual cables and sends the signal along one solitary cable that plugs into the back of the TV. For those of you who hate that rat's nest of HDMI cables piled behind your TV, this will be a very welcome feature indeed.
Smart TV Features
The S9 series televisions will sport the latest and greatest Smart Hub platform.
Because all of the S9 series televisions will use the new Samsung Smart Hub platform, users will be able to enjoy improved gesture controls, a voice-control remote, and updated software. For a more in-depth look at these Smart TV features, simply click here.
Stunningly enormous screen, and appropriately huge resolution
The biggest selling point to this TV isn't just its size, but its LED-backlit LCD screen with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Not only does this grant the S9 televisions membership to the 4K club, but it also means that they will have a pixel density unprecedented on consumer televisions until this year. Much of the content we saw on show floor models was stunningly detailed, but we should point out there is currently a dearth of 4K content available for use.
Yet Samsung has thought of this too, and they do have an onboard system to upscale content to the S9's native resolution. While a system like this will never be 100% perfect, what we saw from an upscaled blu-ray video was encouraging, handling well and without error.
Because we were only granted access to the televisions on a light-polluted show floor and without our ridiculously sensitive (and expensive!) equipment, we are unable to give you all the salacious details about the S9 series' performance. We will say this, however: it didn't seem to have many issues with color banding or a high black level, so contrast gamma at least should be acceptable. Still, we won't be able to report on performance until we run our tests, so stay tuned!
If this type of TV is the new normal, then a glorious future awaits.
By making one of the most advanced LCD screens to date, Samsung has taken a newer technology and quickly made it a viable consumer option, albeit with a huge initial price tag. While there is scant 4K content at present, the content upscaling feature seems to work acceptably well in the interim, and this is a TV that will last as more and more media adapts to the newer resolution standard.
From what we can tell by the spec sheet and our own experience with the television, this is the total package: it has a great sound system, an impressive screen, and the latest and greatest Smart TV platform. Whether or not you're attracted to pieces of equipment that look like gargantuan easels... is an entirely different story. For some, that will be a backseat issue, next to such shining specs.
If you've got many thousands of dollars just burning a hole in your pocket, and a need for the biggest screen around, you may want to wait for Samsung's 110-inch monstrosity to hit the stores. While no release date has been set, this was the belle of the ball in the television department this year, though those 4K OLED screens are something to watch out for in years to come.