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Samsung Forum 2014: Affordable smart TVs for Africa

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At the Samsung Forum 2014 for Africa under way in Malaga, Spain, a new range of TVs designed for the African continent includes an entry-level Family TV and units able to run off various power sources, writes SEAN BACHER.

The Samsung Forum 2014 for Africa kicked off in Malaga, Spain, this week with the unveiling of a new TV set intended for use across the African continent: the Family TV, an LED unit that offers features like screen-grabbing and sound recording.

George Ferreira, Samsung Africa Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, opened the event by saying that Africa is a continent full of promise and potential.

“For Samsung, it is a very important market, thus we have spent the past decade designing products especially for Africa. We are continually looking at the needs for the African consumer and will continue doing so for years to come.””

Corrie Labuschagne, product and marketing manager for TVs at Samsung Electronics South Africa, reiterated this message as he unveiled the company’s latest TVs designed for emerging markets.

Introducing the Samsung Family TV, he said: “”We found that many African users like to record sound segments, for example church broadcasts, and listen to them over and over.”” The TV also allows users to capture images and set them as screen savers or backgrounds on the TV.

Because people around the world love soccer, Samsung has built in a Soccer Mode that improves screen contrast and makes video richer and more vibrant.

Labuschagne says that the Family TV will be available towards the end of April.

The event saw the launch of a second TV product aimed at the emerging market, the Samsung ACDC TV.

“”For many people living in the rural parts of Africa power is inconsistent and in some cases non-existent,”” says Labuschagne. The ACDC specifically addresses this issue.

It is only available in a 23-inch format, but it can work off different power sources. At the rear is a plug for connecting to a standard electric outlet, an adaptor designed to connect to a solar panel and one that lets users connect the TV straight to a car battery. The ACDC TV will also be available towards the end of April.

Although Samsung is heavily focused on the emerging markets, it did unveil a few high-end TVs at the event.

“”We have been leading the smart TV market for eight years, and we will continue to do so this year. We have found that UHD is rapidly changing the TV market, making smart TVs that offer good images and video more affordable,”” says Labuschagne.

Leveraging off this is the company’s announcement of the first curved UHD TV. The curved TVs will be available from 48″” up to 110″” to suit a range of budgets.

The curved TV range features Pure Colour technology and a UHD upscaling process to improve video and picture quality. This includes cleaning up the broadcast signal, signal detection and noise reduction.

“”This leaves you with a full HD video, and although it is not quite as clear as 4K, it is very much cheaper,”” he says.

Also on display was the Evolution Kit. A few years old now, Samsung still believes it provides value for money as it allows owners of older Samsung television sets to upgrade to the latest software without having to fork out thousands for a brand new TV.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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