If you’re looking for a gleaming example of just how ambitious Samsung has got these days, you need look no further than the UE55C9000.
Arguably more than any TV before - including stuff from the likes of Loewe and B&O - the UE55C9000 is more an objet d’art than a TV, wearing innovation, opulence and 'because we can' bravado out there on its gleaming, frankly unbelievably thin sleeve. It’s the sort of design statement that deep-pocketed people with gorgeous homes and images to keep will simply have to own - regardless of whether it’s actually any good or not!
The pictures accompanying this review really don’t do justice to just how astonishing a sight the UE55C9000 is. The main reason for this is, of course, its truly spectacular combination of an almighty 55in screen with a depth of just 7.98mm. This depth makes the TV more or less as deep as your average pencil.
Not surprisingly, supporting such a large screen with such a slim chassis means that chassis has to be seriously well made. So the bodywork is constructed from brushed titanium, with a metallic chassis and bezel that appears hewn - with immense skill and care - from a single block of metal. Again, words or pictures can’t remotely do justice to just how iconic this finish looks when applied to such a slender form.
If we appear to be banging on about the design, we make no apologies for it. For the simple fact of the matter is that the way the UE55C9000 looks is the single most important thing about it in terms of what it stands for and who it’s made for.
The stunning screen comes bolted onto a similarly stunning desktop stand (upon which the screen can be rotated), though an ingenious wall mount option is also available. The stand supplied with our set is more interesting than most, too, because it has all the set’s connections built into it. This is actually hardly surprising when you start contemplating the problems of trying to fit any jacks into a screen 8mm deep.
Sockets include four HDMIs (all built to the v1.4 spec), two USBs, an antenna jack, and an Ethernet port that allows you to do various things we’ll get into later. Some of the sockets available, such as the Ethernet port, a SCART port, a D-Sub PC port and the component video port, are only usable via provided mini adaptors.
As you might guess from some of these connections, the UE55C9000’s slenderness isn’t remotely the only thing it’s got going for it. In fact, Samsung has squeezed one heck of a feature count into the UE55C9000’s unbelievably slender form.
Probably the single most significant - or trendy, depending on your point of view! - feature is 3D playback. This really is built in too; the necessary 3D transmitter exists within the TV, rather than being some bolt-on extra unit. It’s a pity, though, that even for £5,600 (or as much as a grand more at some places online) Samsung only includes a single pair of active shutter 3D glasses with the TV (confirm they're included!) when we wouldn’t have minded two sets finished in Swarovski crystals for that sort of money!
The set also sports a Freeview HD tuner, of course, and the Ethernet port or provided USB Wi-Fi dongle additionally allow you to stream in multimedia content stored on a networked DLNA PC. These two network connections also allow you hook into Samsung’s ever-expanding and now really rather excellent Internet@TV online platform. Recent additions of Twitter and, especially, the BBC iPlayer have really boosted this service, with other key services including Facebook, LoveFilm, YouTube and the Picasa online photo album service.