Image: Hugh Threlfall
February 05 2011
Back in November, when I introduced you to the superb Samsung Galaxy Tab 7in iPad rival, I also promised to tell you about a second startlingly good product I discovered at the autumn IFA electronics fair in Berlin. Well, it’s this, the Samsung 9000, which I will not be alone in claiming to be the world’s best TV. Both the 46in and the 55in versions of the 9000 are extraordinary, but if you want the full effect, a TV that takes the breath away whether it’s on or off, go for the 55in, which must be seriously worrying the current makers of the sexiest TVs, Loewe and Bang & Olufsen, as well as Samsung’s major rivals, the mighty Sony, Panasonic and their Seoul sister LG.
OK, what’s so breathtaking? For me, three things, one of which isn’t, funnily enough, that it’s a 3-D TV since, along with some 12 per cent of us, I don’t have 3-D vision. Breathtaking thing number one: the 9000 is astonishingly thin. I mean really, insanely emaciated. It’s actually 3.4cm from back to front, which doesn’t sound that shocking, but with a TV this big, it looks like a mere sliver, thinner than most paintings. Number two: it is encased in glossy, polished metal and – this shouldn’t matter, but it does – appears completely seamless, free of vents or ugly intrusions. This makes it doubly gorgeous. And the third thing: the picture and sound are simply magnificent. The 9000 has an LED screen, which bridges the gap between inferior LCD and superior but old-fashioned plasma. You will, trust me, gawp at the 9000’s picture and then gawp again. It has a brightness and detail I have never seen before.
3-D, yeah, yadda yadda… I will discuss further in my item on the Sony 3-D Blu-ray player. My wife, no technophile but the owner of better eyes than mine, says the 3-D is “quite good, actually”. I’ve no idea. The 9000 also does weird stuff such as internet TV, which will be interesting a few years hence, but isn’t now.
Samsung is the world’s biggest TV producer, which makes it even more surprising that it now makes the best TV you can buy. So long as the Korean peninsula isn’t a war zone by the time you read this, its 9000 TV is set to be a 21st-century classic. If you want smaller than 46in of joy, go for the similar 7000 series, which is also wonderful.