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Samsung's 2016 4K TVs start at $1,499, get even smarter

Engadget Engadget 12/04/2016 Devindra Hardawar
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This year is shaping up to be a 4K HDR showdown for all of the big TV makers. We've already seen Vizio and LG's entries, and now Samsung has announced more details about its latest lineup. All of its new 4K TVs feature quantum dot technology, which promise more accurate colors compared to LED on its own. They also sport a revamped "Smart Hub" interface, which streamlines the entire process of setting up your TV and integrating new devices. And, as we've heard before, they'll also serve as hubs for Samsung's SmartThings IoT platform, allowing you to control a variety of smart home devices using the TV.

Your cheapest path to a Samsung 4K set this year is the KS8000, which starts at $1,499 for the 49-inch model. If, for some reason, you actually like curved TVs, the KS8500 might be a better option, starting at $1,699 for the 49-inch model. Of course, there are a wide variety of size options — all the way up to 65-inches for both models (just expect the cost to escalate quickly).

For a step up in picture quality, there's Samsung's new 9-series, starting with the flat 55-inch KS9000 for $2,299, or the curved 55-inch KS9500 for $2,499. As always, you pay more for the curved effect. And if you want to go for broke and get Samsung's latest, greatest SUHD set, start saving up: The KS9800 will run you $4,499 for the 65-inch model when it lands in early June. For all that cash you'll get a nearly bezel-less 4K set that can spit out one billion colors with HDR.

While all of Samsung's new sets offer the same underlying technology -- 4K resolutions, quantum dots, and full HDR support -- you'll get a better overall picture as you step up through the model ranges. Expect better backlighting and truer blacks as you go up in price. No matter which set you get, you'll be able to take advantage of the more refined Smart Hub interface. It shows up as an overlay on the bottom of the screen, where you can step through apps, inputs and TV settings. Apps for services like Netflix and Hulu can even recommend things to watch, or show your most recently viewed titles, right from the Smart Hub bar.

This time around, "smart" doesn't just mean these TVs can get online and use apps. They can also automatically recognize when new devices are plugged in and program their remotes to control them. After plugging in an Xbox One into a demo set for the first time, a Samsung rep was able to navigate the Xbox interface with the TV's remote with no additional setup. At launch, Smart Hub will also integrate directly into cable boxes from Comcast, Time Warner, Dish and DirecTV.

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