Samsung's Pricey 8500 Series HDTVs Get Web-Connected

We know it may be overstated, but Samsung sure knows how to design an HDTV. The company best known for its 'Touch of Color' design style is wowing potential television buyers again today with its all-new 8500 series. Considered the flagship model of its expanded LED backlit HDTV series, the new lineup combines the picture quality you're used to in a Samsung with the thinness of its previous LED HDTVs. Heck, there's even networking and interactive features thrown in, which can only be viewed as a direct response to LG's boastful Vudu partnership announced earlier in the week.

The 8500 series utilizes white LEDs as a backlight source, which enables the units to showcase a 7,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. There's also a Wide Color Enhancer Pro, the company's own Ultra Clear Panel, and an optimized energy savings mode that adjusts the backlight and picture quality, without sacrificing the overall viewing experience. Additionally, its “Natural” mode optimizes picture settings to model the brightness advantage of LCD displays and the cinema-like richness of plasma displays with any content.

Owners can also look forward to an ultra-quick 2ms panel response time, a 240Hz refresh rate (great for fast-motion programming), and best of all, Samsung’s Medi@2.0 suite. Sadi suite allows users to access content online (if you're connected to the Internet via Ethernet) from Yahoo! (Flickr, Video, News, Weather, and Finance), USA Today (Sports), Twitter, YouTube, and others Web places. The widgets-based interface and scrollbar are activated with the push of a button, and run along the bottom of the screen for easy browsing of the latest programs and content available. Furthermore, this suite provides wired and wireless DLNA compatibility to enjoy photos, music and videos from a networked PC right on the television. Pre-loaded photos, artwork, games, and recipes are also included for entertaining, and two USB 2.0 connections can be used for playing a plethora of video, photo, and audio files from portable devices, including external hard memory.

The 8500 Series is made up of two sets (for now, anyway): the 54.6" UN55B8500 and the 45.9" UN46B8500, both of which measure in at just 1.6" thick and possess a Full HD (1080p) panel, crystal neck swivel stand, down-firing speakers with integrated woofer, four HDMI ports, a PC input, component inputs, an optical audio output, two USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet jack. Both devices will be on sale starting next month for $4,499.99 and $3,599.99, respectively. In other words, start saving now!