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CES: Samsung expanding 3-D & SmartTV lines; 1 Foot Connect syncs tablets and phones to TVs

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Samsung said at CES that it will increase its Internet-connected SmartTV line to 60% of its television offerings and 3-D to seven depth-adding sets, despite 3-D TV sales last year that failed to live up to industry expectations.

The company also unveiled a new feature that will come to its SmartTV line next year called 1 Foot Connect, at a Consumer Electronics Show news conference Wednesday.

The 1 Foot Connect feature will allow any Samsung wireless devices -- such as a Blu-ray player, camera, smart phone, tablet or laptop -- to automatically sync with a Samsung SmartTV or Internet router as soon as the two devices are brought within 1 foot of each other, said John Revie, Samsung's senior vice president of consumer business.

Once synced, the devices will be able to share content such as movies, photos and TV shows.

Unlike LG and other TV makers, Samsung didn't announce at CES a line of passive 3-D glasses, such as those non-battery-powered specs found commonly in theaters. Instead, Samsung will release updated active-shutter 3-D specs that weigh 1 ounce and fit over regular glasses.

Samsung also is adding its Samsung Apps, currently only available on its Internet-connected TVs, smart phones and tablets, on the majority of its Blu-ray players next year.

A new feature called Search All is a step toward Samsung competing with Google TV in content search on the TV.

Search All will allow users of Samsung's new line of SmartTVs connected to the Internet and Blu-ray players to search for content and then watch that content on their TV, whether the video is located on their Blu-ray player, on TV, on the Internet or on devices connected locally such as a smart phone or tablet.

Samsung's top-of-the-line 3-D models will feature a new bezel just 0.2-inch thick -- about the width of a pencil. The sets will feature SmartTV features and 3-D.

The company was the U.S. leader in 3-D TV sales, having sold about 70% of 3-D TVs in the U.S. last year, said Tim Baxter, Samsung's consumer business division president.

About 1 million 3-D TVs sold worldwide last year -- a figure Samsung expects to grow globally to 6 million by the end of 2011, he said.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: Samsung D8000 TV, with 0.2-inch-thick bezel. Credit: Samsung

 
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