Samsung readies 4K satellite broadcasts, promises to upgrade TVs

BERLIN—Samsung Electronics will upgrade its 4K TVs when broadcast standards have been set and is also partnering with Eutelsat in Europe to offer commercial broadcasts via satellite in the Ultra High-Definition. 3840 by 2560 pixel resolution.

Samsung is, along with other TV manufacturers, boasting about the progress it is making on the development of Ultra High-Definition, or 4K, TV sets. The display resolution of 4K programming (what little there is now) is 3840 by 2560 pixels.

At IFA, Samsung took a small step to address this lack of content for the new TV sets, announcing the Eutelsat partnership. The companies will display a DVB-S2 Ultra HD signal transmitted by satellite and received directly on Samsung’s TVs at IFA. But there is no date for when the signals will be available to consumers.

Another problem is that standards for broadcasting 4K content haven’t been finalized, so it’s important that TVs sold now can be upgraded. Samsung said its TVs can be upgraded and, once standards have been agreed on, the company will make available an “UHD evolution kit” in the form of a new external connection box.

Products shown in Berlin

Samsung’s 4K line-up at IFA includes its 55- and 65-inch curved TVs. The curved screen makes the perceived size even larger, according to Samsung. They allow two people to watch different programs at the same time, in Full HD or 3D, it said. In Europe, the 55-inch version costs about $10,500. That compares to its flat 55-inch F9000, which costs a little more than $6500.

The company is also showing a 98-inch model, which is so big that players in next year’s World Cup in Brazil will be almost life-size on the screen. For people who want something even bigger, there is a 110-inch model as well.

TV makers are hoping that 4K will give them a needed sales boost. For example, Europe this year has lacked big sporting events that usually help increase sales of consumer electronics. The first quarter of the year saw a 6 percent decrease in the number of TV sets sold in Europe compared with the same period in 2012. In the second quarter of 2013, the volume fell by 14 percent, according to market research company GfK.

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