Samsung's Wireless 1080p Plasma Is Almost Ready, But Is It Safe Enough For Hollywood?



Yesterday, Samsung execs brought us up to speed on their plans for a wireless high-def TV system. On target for September, the 50" and 58" models (FP-T5094 and FP-T5894, respectively) will feature 802.11n for a range up to 300 feet, and will support 1080p wireless video. Bill Dickey, Samsung's plasma TV sales manager, told us that if the sets were 720p, they could be ready sooner, but because Samsung is shooting for 1080p, they have to deal with Hollywood. Dickey says Samsung is "in negotiations" with the major movie studios, and hopes to have their approval of a secure wireless transmission system by June, so Samsung can finish development in time for September.

Dickey's boss said that DRM wasn't the only concern.

Jonas Tanenbaum, VP of flat panel sales and marketing said that he really wants to make sure the system meets the expectations of videophiles, and not just nerds who enjoy hot wireless action. Buying a wireless system should not mean paying more for degraded video, he said. They're not cheap: the cost will be $3,999 for the 50" and $5,199 for the 58", lower than previously suggested but still a $500 premium over their non-wireless brethren, the FP-T5084 shipping in June and the FP-T5884 out in September.

When I joked that if it didn't work, people would toss the $500 base station and just plug their gear directly into the TV, Tanenbaum said that that wasn't an option: the "jack back" on this TV will be barebones. All of the HDMI, component and other A/V inputs will be housed in the base station only. It's wireless or bust.

If you're getting deja vu, it's because there is a 720p version of this, the SPD-50P7HDT (pictured above), is available in Korea; we we told you all about it last August. The US version that I described was announced at CES.

We have our fingers crossed, but we're not holding our breath. Wireless TV has been done, but it hasn't yet been done right. More often than that, it has been promised, but not delivered. Even Samsung, who stands the best chance of making something work this year, has been guilty of premature (press) release.

Wireless Plasma [Gizmodo]