Samsung’s creative way to upgrade its Full HD and Ultra HD television might not have been talked up much at CES, but we’ve seen it for ourselves at Samsung’s own product showcase in Indonesia.
There’s good news, and then there’s more good news, because while Samsung didn’t tell us much about its standard Evolution Kit back at Las Vegas in January, we’ve gone hands on with both models of the product in the past few days.
For those paying attention, there will be two models, with the regular Evolution Kit adhering to the back of a Full HD TV just like the past model, and a special longer version of the Evolution Kit for the 4K Ultra HD TVs Samsung is producing.
We’ll start with the Ultra HD Evolution Kit, because we know more about this one than the new edition of the Full HD model you strap to the back of a TV.
With the UHD Kit, you’ll place the box near the TV, connecting the unit by a cable (from what we understand) and providing extra ports and encoding support.
The ports on the new Evolution Kit include four HDMI ports, antenna, Ethernet, a flat audio component cable which may go to a Samsung proprietary connection, three USB ports, optical audio, and infrared out.
Samsung is including support for HDMI 2.0 here, which itself supports 4K video up to 60 frames per second, with the latest version of HDCP, and even the MHL 3.0 standard which will make it possible to run 4K video from mobile phones and tablets supporting this technology.
At present time, the only phone available in Australia that captures video in 4K Ultra HD is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, but based on what we’ve heard from the Mobile World Congress this year, both Sony and Samsung are already planning to release products that sport the 4K video recording within the next few months.
Support for High Efficiency Video Coding or “HEVC” — also known as H.265 — is also here, making it possible to stream 4K video over the web or USB keys, with potential broadcast decoding technologies built for the few 4K transmissions that will exist.
In person, the Samsung Ultra HD Evolution Kit is an elegant looking box, different from the Evolution Kit made for the Full HD boxes that has to sit plugged into the back of a TV.
For those, Samsung will still be making them, from what we understand, and updating the technology to take advantage of Samsung’s changes in 2014 to Full HD.
Unfortunately, we didn’t learn much about what had changed, but someone did point out that the older style Evolution Kit for compatible Full HD TVs is a product Samsung will still have available.
Now we just need to find out what’s in it and what it will update. With enough time — and with enough pestering — we’re sure we can get Samsung to reveal all.
Leigh D. Stark travelled to the Samsung Forum in Bali, Indonesia as a guest of Samsung Australia.