Samsung prices 2014 TVs at the high end, adds curved offerings

Today Samsung announced official pricing on its vast array of new 2014 TVs, including numerous curved and 4K/UHD sets first introduced at CES 2014 last January.

They ain't cheap.

Samsung's 4K models start at $2,499 for a 50-inch size. Compare that to Vizio, for example, which is charging $999 for its cheapest 4K 50-incher. On paper, the Vizio even has a picture quality advantage over the Samsung, offering full-array local dimming compared to Samsung's edge-lit variety.

Then there's the company's newfangled curved TVs. The entry price there is $1,999 for a 48-inch … Read more

4K TVs with passive 3D: Finally, a good use for all those pixels

3D may be all but dead, at least on TV, but plenty of 3D films are still coming out in theaters and on Blu-ray. "The Hobbit." "Pacific Rim." "Man of Steel." "Thor: The Dark World." "The Wolverine." "Cars." "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2." "Gravity."

And numerous TVs are available with 3D capability -- and include the requisite glasses -- to handle playing those movies in the home. Until now, however, they all demanded severe picture quality sacrifices when you donned the glasses.… Read more

Panasonic CES 2014 press conference: Join us Monday, 10 a.m. PT (live blog)

The days of the Panasonic plasma TV are over, the company having confirmed last year that it's ceasing plasma production in just a few months. But, that doesn't mean it is leaving the display market. Far from it. What does Panny have in store for the rest of 2014, and can a new selection of LCDs possibly fill the giant, missing void left behind as it exits the PDP market? Join us on Monday at 10 a.m. PT to find out.

You can tune in to the blog and video stream here:

CNET's live coverage of Panasonic CES 2014 press conferenceRead more

Hands on with the massive Samsung UN-85S9 85-inch 4K TV

This thing is huge. There's just something about a TV this size that dominates a room. Even a big room. It plays tricks on the eyes, in a way, as your brain isn't accustomed to seeing a TV of such girth.

The UN-85S9 isn't just massive in size (85 inches, 189 pounds), but massive in price ($40,000) and resolution (Ultra HD "4K," of course).

I got to spend some time with it, and here's what I found out.… Read more

HDMI 2.0: What you need to know

The HDMI Forum, the nonprofit body that oversees the HDMI specification, recently announced version 2.0. There were numerous changes, not least support for higher frame rates than are possible with the current 1.4 specification.

Do you need to upgrade? Will your cables still work? What does this mean for the future of TVs? Do you care? Answers for all these questions (except maybe the last one) below...… Read more

CNET's guide to 3D TV: What you (still) need to know

3D TV is a chicken without an egg. Many LED LCD and plasma TVs today offer a 3D feature and ship with 3D glasses, but most people never use the feature and never don the glasses. Or they try it once or twice and then leave the glasses to gather dust.

The missing egg is content. Despite the hype of its "Avatar"-fueled launch and accompanying predictions about a proliferation of made-in-3D movies, sports, and TV shows, 3D is still uncommon today. There's not much actual 3D you can watch on a 3D TV.

With a couple … Read more

ESPN to drop 3D channel in 2013

ESPN has confirmed it will cease broadcasting its 3D channel at the end of the year and will focus on new technologies such as 4K.

Rather than making an official announcement, the first news came in the form of a tweet from an ESPN employee this morning.

ESPN 3D was great at home but due to low adoption of 3D to home, we are discontinuing to focus on other products for fans and affiliates

— Katina Arnold (@KatinaESPN) June 12, 2013

ESPN has since confirmed to CNET the service will cease by the end of the year.… Read more

I tested the Virtuix Omni and my knees, hands, and elbows lived to tell the tale (hands/feet-on)

LOS ANGELES -- I did not fall! No, really. I didn't (just watch the video). Falling was my biggest fear when I booked a meeting last week to see the Virtuix Omni, an omnidirectional, low-friction surface that allows you to move around in a virtual environment (using the Oculus Rift) without (seriously) endangering yourself, your coffee table, or others.

Hold on! The Omni is about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and is sloped toward its center. It's a low-friction surface with a narrowly grooved exterior. A circular handle surrounds your waist, affording you a degree of much-needed … Read more

Projector tech explainer: All your front projection questions answered

For the biggest TV, movie, and gaming experience, you need a projector. On top of all the "normal" TV jargon, projectors have their own buzz words and marketing fluff that must be navigated. Then there's the additional complexity of wiring and screens. None of these things are difficult, especially if you're armed with a handy helpful guide.

Hey, this is a helpful handy guide! Behold, all your projector tech questions answered. … Read more

The 2013 TVs of CES are bigger and smarter, but what about the picture?

Will flat-panel TV picture quality get even better in 2013?

I'm guessing "Yes" in the case of the Best of CES nominee Panasonic TC-PZT60 and the re-engineered Samsung UNF8500, very likely the two best-performing TVs of 2013 under $10,000.

But those two are hardly the TV hardware poster children of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, where all the headlines touted expensive 4K and OLED sets -- still stupid and chronically under-delivered, respectively -- as well as new gadgetry of questionable usefulness. Finger-gesture control, anyone?

I got a chance to see both the Panasonic and the Samsung … Read more