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CES 2014: Samsung’s UHDTVs and the curved shapes of things to come

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005935) won one of the 20 Best of Innovations awards and five of the 11 Innovations Design and Engineering awards in the video-displays category, mostly for its ultra high-definition televisions (UHDTVs) on exhibit at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas this week. (The company also won a Best of Innovations award for a curved light-emitting-diode monitor in the computer-peripherals category.)

A Samsung curved organic-light-emitting-diode television is displayed at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

The terms Ultra High-Definition or Ultra HD employed to describe the next generation of so-called 4K high-def video-display technology (e.g., TVs with more than 8 million pixels of resolution, four times the resolution of their predecessor HD sets) were adopted by the CES-sponsoring Consumer Electronics Association in October 2012.

Samsung’s award-winning ways at CES 2014 befit the market leader in the video-displays category. Ranked by revenue share in the second quarter of last year, the top three global flat-panel TV brands during the second quarter of last year were Samsung, with 26.5 percent, LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570), with 16.3 percent, and the Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE), with 8.0 percent, according to the “Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report” by DisplaySearch, one of the global market-research units of the privately held NPD Group.

Samsung’s award-winning TVs at CES 2014

Honored with both a Best of Innovations award and an Innovations Design and Engineering award was Samsung’s 65-inch Real 240-hertz full HD Smart LED TV with quad-core multitasking capability (UN65H7150).

Honored with Innovations Design and Engineering awards were Samsung’s 110-inch UHD Smart TV (UN111S9), billed by the South Korea-based company as the world’s largest 240Hz UHD display; 98-inch UN98S9GL, called the world’s largest glassless-3D/2D switchable UHDTV; 78-inch UN78HU9000, described as the world’s first and largest curved UHD LED TV; and 55-inch curved RGB OLED TV (KN55S9C), labeled as sporting the world’s first 3D multiview.

Marketing being marketing, certain competitors in the video-displays game might quibble over Samsung’s characterizations. For example, the privately held Vizio Inc. gave its 120-inch Reference Series UHDTV its debut at CES 2014 Monday.

Meanwhile, Samsung discussed its forays into curved TVs, flexible TVs, and UHDTVs at a number of CES 2014 events, including one accessible via this company blog post. (N.B.: Film director Michael Bay does not star in this spot.)

Curved TVs may do OK, and flexible TVs might do OK, but UHDTVs are already doing OK in the marketplace. In fact, more than 30 million of them could be shipped this year, according to David Hsieh, DisplaySearch’s vice president for the Greater China market.

One effect of examining the broad and deep array of products and services exemplified by those being exhibited by Samsung, its collaborators, and its competitors at CES 2014 is the refreshment of the sense of wonderment in at least one lifelong mass-media person that the worlds once imagined by the likes of Ray Bradbury (in the area of enormous flat-panel displays), Arthur C. Clarke (in the field of geostationary satellite communications), and even Clifford D. Simak (in the realm of home-based mechanization) have moved, are moving, and will move from science fiction to technological fact.

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