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Samsung unveils SUHD line-up for SA

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Earlier this week, Samsung announced its line-up of SUHD TVs to the South African market, setting a new standard and elevating the viewing experience to new levels.

Samsung reserves the “S” identification for its most premium flagship products that signify a true leap forward in technology. As the leader in the industry, Samsung is excited to extend the prestigious “S” identification to its latest premium TV line, the SUHD TV. It is developed to excite all of the senses, with Sensational Picture, Seamless Interaction and a Stylish Curved design.

The development celebrates a major milestone in the UHD era, delivering on stunning contrast, striking brightness and spectacular colour. Its exciting features and various Smart functions, are powered by Tizen, giving viewers easy access to their favourite content.

“Our innovative heritage and spirit continue to push the boundaries of the home entertainment experience to new possibilities,” said Matthew Thackrah, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics SA. “Regardless of the content source, Samsung provides leading picture quality in the industry and will continue to do so with this latest innovation.

Introducing Unmatched Quality Viewing

The product utilises Samsung’s proprietary, eco-friendly nano-crystal technology, which provides viewers with 64 times more colour expression than conventional TVs. This is supported by the intelligent SUHD re-mastering engine, which automatically analyses the brightness of images to minimise additional power consumption while expressing ultimate contrast levels, producing images with much darker blacks and an elevated brightness 2.5 times brighter than usually.

Sophisticated and Improved Curved Designs

When Samsung introduced the curved form-factor in 2013, it dramatically improved the consumers’ engagement with the device. Taking cues from contemporary art and architecture, it was designed and enhanced with many modern and minimalist highlights.

Samsung SUHD TV (JS9500) features Samsung’s Chamfer bezel framework, adding more depth to the screen, with the elegant frame making the TV look like a piece of art when mounted on the wall. The soft, textured shirring pattern on the back ensures that the TV maintains its stylish edge from any angle, making it appear to display a soft, undulating fabric.

Tizen Redefines the Future Entertainment Experience

As of this year, all of Samsung’s Smart TVs, including the new SUHD, will be powered by Tizen, an open-source platform that supports web standards for app development. This allows for a multitude of new features, including a more intuitive UI (User Interface), more truly integrated entertainment experience and more ways to access content than ever before.

·         The new user interface for Samsung’s Smart Hub is more responsive and playful. The hub displays the most recently viewed content, so you can pick up right where you left off and it also gives users tailored recommendations for even more entertainment options.

·         With Quick Connect, Samsung smartphones are automatically recognised once paired via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology. Consumers can share video content from their Samsung smartphone to their Smart TV with the press of a button. Users can also watch programmes from their mobile unit, without any apps or complicated pre-settings.

·         In order to address the needs of consumers in Africa, Samsung has partnered with eNCA to provide users with convenient access to local news and weather. To further showcase its commitment to diverse entertainment options, Samsung is working with SuperSport to give users access to sports highlights, live scores and player information across the continent. Samsung also offers ONTV, a premium lifestyle application for South Africa, which provides a variety of content, including magazines, vehicle and travel information as well as recipes in video format, sponsored by Raj and Robertson spices.

·         Samsung, in partnership with Times Media Group, will also launch VIDI, which gives users in South Africa access to blockbuster and catalogue movies as well as access to popular TV series. Movies are made available in line with DVD release.

·         Furthermore, Samsung has partnered with Vonetize to launch Aflix, offering access to top Hollywood movies, television series and other video entertainment to African consumers in 30 countries across the continent.

·         Consumers can now wake-up with Briefing on TV, which acts as an alarm by syncing with Samsung mobile products to turn on and display important items such as the time, weather and consumers’ schedules.

·         With all Samsung TVs poised to become part of the Internet of Things by 2017, Tizen’s compatibility with other devices establishes Samsung’s Smart TVs as the control centre of any Smart Home.

Thackrah concludes: “The introduction of SUHD TV, incorporating enhanced technology and various smart features, demonstrates our continued commitment to consistently deliver a superior home entertainment experience that truly meets the evolving needs of our consumers.”

Samsung will offer three new models, the JS9500, JS9000 and JS8500 – in seven screen sizes varying from 55” to 88”. The recommended retail price varies from R35 000 to R300 000 (model dependent).

 

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

Arts and Entertainment

SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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