It's another year, and Samsung is back with the second generation of its SUHD TV lineup. Yes, the curved screens remain, and Tizen is still the underlying platform powering Samsung's TV software. But there are a number of upgrades coming to the 2016 line; first, all of them will support HDR for brighter, bolder, and more vivid picture. (Like LG, Samsung is talking up its certification as "Ultra HD Premium," a new label the UHD Alliance is giving to TVs that meet its top standards for picture quality, standards support, and so on.
Samsung says it's made improvements to the quantum dot technology in this latest round of SUHD TVs, optimizing them for viewing in both dark and well-lit rooms. When watching HDR content, you'll never really have to worry about brightness on these sets; it's bright enough to make your eyes dilate. Aside from better picture, Samsung is highlighting the design of these sets with a special focus on their incredibly slim bezels. And the Smart Remote we previously covered will automatically detect any cable box, game console, or other home theater piece that you plug into your TV, so there's zero setup.
The company's Smart Hub has seen a small update, but still offers all the key apps you'd expect (Netflix, YouTube, HBO, etc.). There's also PlayStation Now, so you've got instant access to over 300 PlayStation games — assuming your internet connection is up to the task. But the real software story here is the smart home; Samsung's 2016 lineup can serve as the centerpiece of your connected appliances. If they work with SmartThings, you'll be able to control them through the TV interface. So dimming the lights, turning up the temperature, and other tasks will be easily accomplishable from your couch. Unfortunately, Samsung notes that a USB adapter will be required to get the most of this SmartThings integration. But if you're paying up for a top-tier Samsung TV, that's probably not much of an obstacle.
Samsung also briefly demoed an upcoming app it calls MediaSquares, which lets you and other people in the living room vote on music playlists, videos, and (bizarrely) restaurant listings. There's not a lot being shared about this right now, so clearly the app remains a work in progress and in its early stages. I'm not really sure this is something TV makers should be bothering with; leave it to developers and the apps that people actually want to use. Samsung says it'll reveal more details around MediaSquares later this year, and we'll also have to wait for full pricing and availability. We're only kicking off the TV rush here at CES 2016, so stay here all week — no breaks — for firsthand impressions once we get to see these things on the show floor.