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Best 2016 LCDs: Samsung

Updated March 31, 2016: availability and 3D

Samsung introduced its premium SUHD line of televisions in 2015 that improved the image quality of previous designs with technology to enhance color, increase brightness, and to provide a better-optimized interface for a screen with more than 8-million pixels. Today, Samsung Electronics introduces a flagship TV and Blu-ray player that seek to deliver a best-in-class viewing experience for the maturing ultra-high definition (UHD) video format.

The Flagship - KS9500 Series

The Samsung KS9500 SUHD TV series is the successor to the simply stunning JS9500 that continues to wow our eyes. The design of the KS9500 (pictured above) retains the elegant Y-shaped matte-finished metal base stand, but the screen perched upon it now features a unique "bezel-less curved design" that keeps a viewer's attention firmly on those new pixels. While the top and sides of the KS9500's frame are indeed nearly imperceptible when viewed from the front, the bottom edge is just wide enough to center a Samsung badge.

Interesting specs for the KS9500 include:

  • 10-bit VA-type LCD
  • Sizes: 55-inches65-inches
  • 1000-nit minimum (HDR playback)
  • Quantum dot color
  • Ultra Black anti-reflection tech
  • 4200mm radius screen curve (55-inch+)
  • HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2

One item conspicuously missing from Samsung's 2016 premium TVs is support for viewing 3D content - the general lack of popularity of this feature and cost savings are the most likely reasons for its abandonment.

The KS9500's enhanced 10-bit panel is aiming for a "1000-nit minimum" of light output - a significant increase compared to Samsung's 2015 edge-lit TVs. This performance is achieved through improved efficiency of the blue LEDs in its backlight unit (BLU) as well as the ability for that light to more easily penetrate the color-enhancing quantum dot-impregnated film. For more information about quantum dot technology, please see this helpful article. These are impressive brightness claims that a Samsung representative said were obtained when displaying a 10% window - I was pressed to measure ~900-nits on the 2015 JS9500 when displaying a smaller, less challenging 2% window.

Best 2016 TVs + Tech

The Ultra Black technology of the KS9500 is a "moth's eye" layer of film that features nano-scale patterns made of up structures smaller than the wavelength of visible light. This surface structure mimics the characteristics of a moth's eye and enables the screen surface to prevent strong sources of external light from creating harsh reflections. Sharp Electronics has made impressive demonstrations of moth's eye tech since at least 2012, and anything that can help an LCD minimize glare and reflection will improve perceived picture quality and display efficiency.

Curved screen TV designs are about as polarizing of a home theater topic as I've encountered in recent years. Samsung will continue to utilize curved LCDs for its premium offerings. However, it is slightly reducing the radius of the curve for screen sizes 55-inches and larger. The KS9500 Series is available in screen sizes of 55-inches and 65-inches.

2016 Vizio SmartCast P-Series TVs

Review: Samsung's Best 2015 TV

Under the hood, Samsung's TIZEN operating system (OS) has received some upgrades and a new look.

Paired with a new Samsung Smart Control remote that increases the robustness of its universal control features and offers a simplified setup through connected device detection, the 2016 Smart Hub requires less digging to get at frequently viewed content and apps. Other features of the refreshed interface include:

  • PlayStation Now - quality gaming without the console
  • EXTRA Service - additional content information
  • Smart View - upgraded Android/iOS sharing app
  • NeuLion-enabled - live UHD sports streaming
  • IoT (Internet of Things) hub - connect/control 200+ devices

I appreciated seeing some 2014 and 2015 Samsung UHD TVs receive the PlayStation Now update as it finally delivers a quality gaming experience without the need for console hardware - just add a controller. And live UHD sports streaming via NeuLion?!? I'll take some of that!

Review: A Great Bluetooth Speaker

UHD Blu-ray Arrives

The era of the Ultra HD Blu-ray Player has arrived. The Samsung UBD-K8500 is an ideal match for a TV like the company's KS9500. The K8500 is HDR compatible and content will be encoded to take advantage of the gigantic Rec.2020 color space (that a TV will conform to its hardware capabilities.) A prototype unit I previewed featured dual HDMI ports - the additional port for audio-only output to a compatible AV receiver. Visually-speaking, the HDR demo video previewed was a scene from A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the combination of a staggeringly high bitrate, HDR visuals, and wide color gamut were pure eye candy. Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Warner Brothers have all announced plans to release dozens of Ultra HD Blu-ray titles in 2016. The UBD-K8500 is available now.

Robert's Favorite Home Theater Gear

Updated: Great TV Deals

     This article will be updated as new information becomes available

Reader Comments (2)

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October 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSamsung Tv in Ghana

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November 21, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterepson error code 0x97

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