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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

Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Arts and Entertainment

Showmax shoots its first local drama

Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.

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The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.

As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service,  Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.

Showmax is available in 70 countries.

Photographer: Patrick Toselli

“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”

At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.

But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.

The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…

Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.

Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.

The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.

Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.

“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”

All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.

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