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CES in Pictures: Samsung--New Plasma, LCD TVs, Bluetooth Speakers, and More

CES announcements from Samsung include plasma and LCD TVs with ethernet ports for Internet hookups, sexy home theater packages, and updates to MP3 players, among many other new products.

Samsung HDTVs Sport Integrated Ethernet Port

Samsung, the U.S. market leader in HDTV (units sold and dollar revenue, per market research firm NPD), is joining the connected TV crowd. The company's new high-end flat-screen TVs--its Series 6 and 7 LCDs, and the Series 7 plasma sets shown here (due in April in 50-, 58- and 63-inch versions)--support a new InfoLink RSS service that will bring USA Today news, weather, sports and stock quotes to sets hooked up to the Internet via their integrated ethernet port. You don't even have to stop watching TV--simply tap a button on your remote and the text will display over the image. The following sides contain more highlights from Samsung's 2008 CES lineup. We do not yet have pricing. -- Yardena Arar

Samsung LCD HDTVs

If you can't find a Samsung LCD for your taste and budget, you're tough to please. Samsung's Series 7 LCD-TVs, such as the one shown here (available in 40, 46, and 52 inches), are the most full-featured of four LCD-TV lines offered by the consumer electronics giant (the others are Series 4, 5 and 6). The series 6 and 7 LCDs (due in March and May, respectively) and Series 7 plasma sets all use new Touch of Color design technology, which infuses a hint of amber into a translucent dark cabinet. Samsung says this sets them apart from a sea of black-bezel competitors.

Samsung's DLP Sets: Big, Green and Well Connected

They're not as skinny as LCDs or plasmas, but DLPs have other virtues. Samsung's Series 6 (shown here) and Series 7 DLPs feature support for USB 2 as well as the HDMI 1.3-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) spec, which allows compliant consumer electronics to communicate directly with each other (for example, inserting a disc into a DVD player supporting CEC could automatically prompt the TV and home theater systems to power up). Series 6 sets will be available in sizes ranging from 50 to 72 inches. The Series 7 DLPs, with LED lighting, are available in 61 and 67-inch models that Samsung touts as exceptionally environmentally conscious, consuming about half the power of a 60-inch plasma set (that would set you back quite a lot more to purchase as well). These new DLPs will appear this spring.

Samsung's iPod Wanna-Be's: One Touch-y MP3 Player--the P2

The Samsung P2 is the company's first portable media player with a full touchscreen interface. The device has a 3-inch widescreen, support 30 frames-per-second video playback, and uses technology called EmoTure that responds to swipes as well as taps, Samsung says. The device supports Bluetooth, so you can pair it with a Bluetooth cell phone; when the phone rings, you'll hear it through your earphones and be able to converse through the P2's integrated mike. You can also pair it with a portable Bluetooth speaker such as Samsung's YA-BS300 or YA-BS900 (shown later in this side show.) No cool Safari browser, alas. The P2 is available now.

And One Nano-esque Featherweight Mp3 Player--The T10

Available now in black, red or purple (shown), and in 4GB and 8GB models, Samsung's T10 checks in at three-tenths of an inch thick and a mere 1.5 ounces. It plays music, FM radio, and video on a two-inch QVGA (320 by 240) screen; displays still images and records voice, too. Samsung is also promoting a new Blue Wave program that will allow owners of both Bluetooth-enabled players (the P2 and T10) to add new features via firmware upgrades available online at www.mpfreedom.com. The first upgrade will enable file transfers between other, compatible Bluetooth devices; it will also allow pairing of P2s with cell phones.

BS900--A Smart Bluetooth Speaker

Samsung is big on wireless speakers of all shapes and sizes. The YA-BS900, shown here (and due by mid-year), is intended for use with Bluetooth-enabled music players and cell phones: It packs 3 10-watt speakers into a single box that emulates surround sound, and has the unusual ability to turn on automatically when someone approaches with a previously-paired device. Should that device be a phone, the BS900 will also reduce the volume of music when a phone call comes in. Now that's a polite speaker as well as a smart one.

HT-X715--Bluetooth For Home Theater Systems

Samsung's Bluetooth binge extends to a number of its home entertainment systems, including the compact, 5.1-channel HT-Z715 shown here. The idea is that you can then use them to play the music on your Bluetooth-enabled music player, or listen to your cell phone audio. Like all of Samsung's new home theater systems, it features 1080p upconversion and support for HDMI 1.3-CEC. The HT-Z715 and its 2.1 channel sibling, the HT-Z710, can support wireless speakers on the 5.8ghz band, to help free rear channels from ugly cables. Both are due in May.

HT-X810--Home Theater Audio in a Single Box (Well, Two Really)

If you don't want to deal with multiple speakers, Samsung's upcoming wall-mountable HT-X810 Home Theater Sound Bar packs 300 watts of power and an upconverting 1080p DVD player into one box designed for use with any Samsung set measuring 40 inches or larger. Due in May, it comes with a companion subwoofer that connects wirelessly on the 5.8 ghz band and also supports Bluetooth.

HT-X515--Towers of Power Home Theater in a Box

You want sheer, raw power for your DVD movie sound? Samsung's HT-X515's 5.1 sound system packs 800 watts--as well as a five-disc upconverting 1080p DVD player. Its rear speakers are 5.8-ghz wireless-ready, and an auto calibration feature should take some of the guesswork out of setup. The X515 and its lower-end siblings, which replace either two or all of its tallboys with satellite speakers, are due in April.

HT-BD2--Home Blu-ray Disc Theater in a Box

Samsung's high-end HT-BD2 is among the first home theaters in a box to support Blu-ray Disc playback, with 7.1-channel stereo that delivers 1100 watts of power and 1080p (Full HD) upconversion for DVDs. An integrated ethernet port will let you download firmware upgrades as necessary. Speakers are wireless-ready, and support all major movie and most popular music codecs. This one is available now.

DVD-F1080--Chic Portable DVD Player Requires Few Sacrifices

The latest iteration of Samsung's portable DVD player, the DVD-F1080, isn't much larger than the discs it plays. But it too upconverts standard DVDs to the popular hi-def resolutions (720p, 1080i, 1080p)., while supporting a slew of other popular media formats (e.g. 7.1 PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and Master Audio, Bitstream audio output via HDMI and more. Due in June.

Samsung's Petite 1080p HD Camcorder

Samsung's new high-def camcorder, the SC-HMX20C, packs big video into a compact, lightweight (10.9 ounces) package. Its 6.4-megapixel CMOS can capture Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at 30 frames per second on its 8GB flash drive (or optional SDHC/MMC+ storage cards). An interesting bonus: The ability to capture up to 10 seconds at 300 frames per second for smooth slow-motion playback--to help analyze that pesky golf or tennis swing, for example. The SC-HMX20C can also capture stills, enhanced by such extras as a pop-up flash and face-recognition technology. It's due in May.

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