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Samsung Doubles Down on TVs for 2015

"SUHD" TVs don't quite roll off the tongue. But they're pretty.

Samsung is adding even more superlatives to its top-of-the line TV sets, readying a new lineup of “SUHD” TVs for 2015, the company revealed at its annual CES press conference today.

Samsung will offer three new series of SUHD TVs this year, in nine screen sizes, ranging from 48 inches to 88 inches. UHD stands for ultra high-definition, also known as 4K. The “S” part is a bit more nebulous: Samsung has said it is using the S for branding, the same way it uses “S” in its lineup of mobile products.

The new TVs will feature nano-crystal technology, and other things you’d need a degree in quantum optics to understand, but Samsung says all of this results in better contrast, brightness and color.

Some of the new TVs also have curved displays, despite the fact that the advantages of having a curved TV screen is still debatable. In fact, half of Samsung’s UHD TV sales are now curved TVs.

UHD TVs have made appearances at the International CES for the past few years now. As with the early days of HD TVs, the initial models were cost-prohibitive for average consumers, and there’s been a limited amount of 4K content for consumers to watch.

But consumers are starting to buy in.

In November, research firm DisplaySearch said 4K TV shipments in the third quarter jumped more than 500 percent from the year prior. The firm estimated a total of 6.4 million 4K TV shipments for 2014; Samsung currently has the largest share of the 4K TV market.

Prices of some models have been coming down, from the $5000 or $6000 range to a thousand dollars or less, as more low-cost TV makers get into the 4K game.

And the TV makers themselves are forging partnerships with Hollywood movie studios and video services, including 20th Century Fox and Netflix, to spur the creation of more 4K content.

Famed industrial designer Yves Behar made a cameo at the Samsung press event, as well, to show off a curved UHD TV he designed for Samsung. The TV display rests on a cube and is meant to look like it’s sitting on a pedestal, as a sculpture might, Behar explained. It was cool-looking, but forgettably named the S9W (my Re/code colleague John Paczkowski says Samsung should have let Behar name the thing, too).

And Samsung underscored that its new smart TVs will be running Tizen, the open-source operating system that could mean less reliance on Google Android for some hardware makers.

Samsung didn’t make any announcements around smartphones or tablets, but is likely saving its mobile-related news for the upcoming Mobile World Congress conference in February.

LG Electronics, a Korean competitor of Samsung’s, also said it would bring seven new 4K OLED TVs to market this year, ranging in display size from 55 to 77 inches; while Sony showed off a new 4K LED TV that is thinner than the company’s Xperia X3 smartphone.

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