March 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM ET
Samsung held an event Wednesday in New York to announce TV-related news both big and small.
Last year, the company promised a Smart Evolution kit that could attach surreptitiously to the back of 2012 TVs to bring them up to speed with the 2013 models, including giving them the most up-to-date chip to handle the new, improved user interface. On Wednesday, Samsung named the price for the upgrade kit: $299.99. It will launch in May.
"The importance of the kit is that it enables a consumer … to update some of the key features [of his television] to some of the new features," Dave Das, Samsung's VP of U.S. Home Entertainment, told NBC News.
"What the 2013 Smart Evolution Kit adds is a quad-core process and memory. It allows 2012 TVs to update to the 2013 Smart Hub," Das added. It also comes with a Samsung Smart Touch remote.
Samsung also announced pricing on its 85-inch Ultra HD TV, which has four times the resolution of 1080p high-def TVs. If you want to be the first to buy one, it'll set you back $39,999.
The event coincided with a press release that said the company's 2013 TVs would start shipping this month, starting with its flagship models, the 8000 series LED LCD TV and the 8500 series plasma. Details on those TVs, and a handful of other home-theater accessories, can be found here.
"Samsung is expanding their rapidly growing ecosystem to include the smartphone, tablet computer and now Smart TV," wrote wireless industry analyst Jeff Kagan in a note. "This will allow users to share information across devices, but all within the Samsung ecosystem."
"This is similar to the rapidly growing Apple ecosystem, which has seemed stalled in the last year," Kagan added. "The marketplace has been expecting an Apple iTV entry, which is taking much longer than expected. In the meantime Samsung is moving ahead rapidly in this space."