Update 7-30-2009: Samsung has announced that the model numbers of these TVs will be UN46B8500 and UN55B8500 respectively, not B9000 as described below. For more information refer to the blog of the announcement.
Prior to CES, Samsung's reps mentioned in a conversation with CNET that a successor to the company's best 2008 HDTV, the LNA950 series, would be available later in 2009, and now details are beginning to emerge.
According to a report on Danish news and reviews site Flatpanelshd.com, the new models will be dubbed the B9000 series, and will be available in 46- and 55-inch versions, presumably named UN46B9000 and UN55B9000, respectively. The new series will incorporate "local dimming" technology, which sets it apart from the current LED-based LCDs in Samsung's 2009 lineup, which use "edge-lit" LED technology.
In our review of one of those current sets, the UN46B7000, we complained about a fluctuating LED backlight and uniformity issues. That review compared the UN46B7000 directly to the local dimming-equipped LN46A950 from last year, and the A950, with its superiority uniformity and lack of overtly distracting fluctuations, scored higher in Performance.
Aside from local dimming, the UNB9000 series will reportedly make use of a "wireless connection from an external media box" that should allow the sets to approach the 1.2-inch depth of the edge-lit LED-based sets, despite the fact that local dimming requires the LEDs to be mounted directly behind the panel. The box will contain the connections and presumably the tuner and other bulky electronics, a la Panasonic's Z1 and LG's 55LHX, among others. Other features are reportedly the same as the current UNB8000 series, which includes Yahoo widgets.
We contacted Samsung USA but the company would provide no details on the B9000 series. Availability and price are yet to be determined, but my guess is September and "$ky-high."
(Via CNET Asia)