Less and More

TVs slim down, increase connectivity, 
add content and pack in the features

TV manufacturers rolled out their slimmest, most connected, 3D-enabled, content-rich and feature-packed sets at CES. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights.

You could hear the collective “ooohhh” from the audience at Samsung’s 2010 CES press conference when Tim Baxter, president of Samsung America, unveiled what the company is calling the world’s thinnest LED TV.

The response was justified. The 9000 flagship series was enclosed in a brushed-metal bezel and measures about the width of a pencil. If the set wasn’t bolted to a swing-arm mount, it looked like a stiff wind could carry it over the audience.

Like other TV manufactures at this year’s show, Samsung touted its 3D technology. About two-thirds of its 2010 TV lineup (including the new 7000 and 8000 LED series), will feature a 3D engine. The new processing engine can convert 2D programming into 3D, Baxter said. Samsung will also release a 1.4-inch 3D plasma series.

Toshiba unveiled what it’s calling the industry’s first full-solution set, the ZX900 series CELL TV. It includes 3D conversion of 2D programming, new panel technology, a 1TB hard drive, wireless streaming and more robust connectivity, the company said.

Sony used its stage to introduce a new branding campaign and cover girl to North America, unveil a new design concept and roll out a handful of products, including 3D compatible Bravia LCD TVs.

The “make.believe” (pronounced make-dot-believe) campaign will tout a unified message across all of Sony’s businesses, including electronics, entertainment and network services. The new face of Sony, pop star Taylor Swift, kicked off the CES press conference with a performance of her hit “Romeo and Juliet.”

On the TV front, the Bravia LCD lines include Sony’s first full HD 3D integrated set, which comes packaged with two active shutter glasses and a built-in transmitter. The TVs are Edge LED backlit and run up to 60 inches. Other 3D sets will sport the same features but will not be bundled with the glasses and transmitter. The Bravia LCD family, featuring the new “monolithic design,” can be displayed at a six-degree upward slant for more natural viewing. The new sets are expected to his this summer.

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