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Eyes-on: Samsung's $10K 75-inch ES9000 LED LCD HDTV

Samsung is one of the biggest makers of HDTVs today, and while its product line stretches from end to end in price and size, it's seldom that we see one that's $10,000.

To be exact, the Samsung ES9000 LED TV is $9,999 75-inch "ultra-premium" television, and the company calls the set its best to date. We went eyes-on at a private Canadian viewing.

What struck us most strongly about the ES9000 is not its size, but rather its ability to reproduce deep blacks. Most home theater aficionados lean towards plasma displays for black levels, but Samsung was especially eager to show off the ES9000's performance in a completely pitch black room.

A demo reel showed off impressive blacks against vibrant colours, but it wasn't until we moved onto The Dark Knight that we were wowed. It's hard to judge from the photos we snapped at the demo, but they were the best blacks we've seen from an LED LCD HDTV.

Samsung credits the black levels to its "Micro Dimming Ultimate and Precision Black technology" that we're told is exclusive to this top-of-the-line set. The company doesn't share its contrast ratio numbers, but only says "the ES9000 has the highest contrast ratio of any Smart TV it's made." With contrast ratio marketing these days, it's tough to trust numbers anyway.

We were also shown The Avengers as part of a 3D demo, and it was as good as we've seen from active shutter glasses. Given the set's price and how well it would work for larger viewing parties, we were happy to learn that it comes with four 3D glasses in the box.

Aside from the sublime panel and lighting, the ES9000 has a rose gold blush finish and a super-slim, 0.31 inches curved bezel with no visible seams. It's incredibly thin, and fairly manageable for a set its size. With the stand it weighs 109.5 lbs and without it's 97lbs.

It has the following connectivity options:

  • 3 HDMI
  • 3 USB
  • Wireless LAN Built-in
  • 1 Component In (Y / Pb / Pr)
  • 2 Composite In (AV) (1 Common Use for Component Y)
  • 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical)
  • 1 RF In (Terrestrial / Cable input)
  • 1 DVI Audio In (Mini Jack)
  • 1 Audio Out (Mini Jack)
  • 1 Ethernet (LAN)
  • MHL

Like Samsung's other Smart TV offerings, it comes with a camera and mic for voice, gesture recognition and video conferencing. The Smart TV system packs content apps such as Netflix and other options for viewing streaming – even within your devices via DLNA and WiFi Direct.

We were also shown Angry Birds running on the TV, and controlled by the gesture recognition camera. It's not as sensitive or precise as Microsoft's Kinect, and no real Angry Birds fan would prefer gesture control over a touch screen, but it was a neat demo nonetheless.

Samsung has the luxury of being able to produce almost all of its hardware in-house. The TV's dual-core processors, memory, and, most importantly, the panels are all Samsung. This helps pave the way for hardware upgrades with what Samsung calls the Evolution kit. Essentially, the Evolution kit is a hardware module that attaches to the TV to give it a new processor, additional memory, and more. Samsung even boasts that it can improve picture quality, but that'll be through image processing algorithms rather than any upgrade to the panel.

This TV set would be wasted on a casual TV viewer, but for the home theater nut it's a dream. It's hard to describe just how good it looks, but once you consider the $9,999 price tag, then you have a good idea of where to set your expectations. This TV is among the very best, but it's only for those who are willing to pay for it.

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Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • mad tech
    Let the drool run :)
    Reply
  • any one want to lend me 10k? :3
    Reply
  • itsnotmeitsyou
    Please tell me its better than 1080p res. I know res isn't everything, but at $10k, I'd like to see some future-proofing.
    Reply
  • PTNLemay
    @ itsnotmeitsyou

    At this size, resolution matters... If it's still rocking 1080p you won't be able to get within 6 feet of it without immediatly noticing the pixels. 1920 x 1080 in a 75 inch screen... that would be just under 30 pixels per inch. And that's terrible.

    The price doesn't actually bother me too much, not that I'd ever get one. I just mean that traditionally, first gen super products like this have sometimes been even higher. That it's being introduced with such a relatively low price gives me hope for the future.
    Reply
  • aracheb
    omg.. niceee.. wtf this is apple tech..!! apple owns the patent to displays larger than 55 inches...
    apple sue Samscumg fast please...!!!!!!!!

    Why is Samscumg even allow to make tv? doesn't they know that apples owns the patent for rectangular display devices

    Reply
  • MaXimus421
    I agree, the max resolution will be the deal breaker here.

    If it is indeed 1080p max, it's an absolutely worthless purchase for 10k in my opinion. Hell, it would be a worthless purchase at any price, really.

    Here's hoping its not...
    Reply
  • MaXimus421
    Guess what.

    It is 1080p.

    Go figure...
    Reply
  • goodguy713
    most i would spend on something like that would be like 2500 ..
    Reply
  • edogawa
    It would sure be nice if it was over 1080p. Problem is that most blu-rays are 720p\1080p and TV is 1080i; would be kind of pointless for higher resolution with a lower resolution source.
    Reply
  • sesante2000
    While 1080p might suck today on such a panel so big, There is no way to get 4K to the TV should it support it. At least not without upscaling the picture.
    Also, I think something of this size is meant for a large room, Not your average living room size.

    I can see the tech in this TV trickle down to the normal consumer TVs in the next 2-3 years. If the black levels are really Plasma level, then I may see something like this in my future.
    Reply