Samsung makes The Wall Luxe available at Harrods
Samsung has opened a multi-experience store on the new technology floor in Harrods where The Wall Luxe is the main display.
The space, which opened on Thursday 29th August, showcases Samsung’s consumer product line and its latest technology, including the complete range of QLED TVs, as well as the Frame and Serif TVs.
The biggest feature at the store is The Wall Luxe, the ultimate display for luxury residences, with a bespoke modular Micro LED screen that can be custom-tailored to any size and aspect ratio.
On a visit to the store last week, I spoke to Damon Crowhurst, Samsung’s head of displays to find out more about The Wall and why they have set up in Harrods.
“Hopefully this is going to be an incredible destination for us,” begins Crowhurst. “It’s certainly a significant investment. So far, I believe the trading figures have been quite exciting. And from my perspective with The Wall, obviously it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase it to probably the hardest target market to reach.”
The Wall is obviously not something that is easy to move around to show customers, so Harrods seemed like a perfect choice to set up the product for customers to see. He adds: “We have our own display showroom in Frankfurt where we have The Wall setup. We have The Wall Pro version, which is one for corporate lobbies. And then we have The Wall Luxe version, which is really for the home. But outside of that, at this moment in time, it's only Samsung briefing centres that have The Wall, so this is really the first public showcase of it. The public can wander in and have a look and see what it's all about.”
The luxury department store enables Samsung to really target the right market for the display. “Obviously, it is a totally unique price point and will continue to remain so because the technology is incredibly challenging to build. It's really about your home cinema; it could replace your classic projector, large format projection, or, indeed big screens. But it's also more than that. It's about really putting something in that can transform the space. It’s the ability to have artwork on the canvas that matches the design of the living room. We will certainly sell some of this size, which is 209-in diameter and that will be perfect for your home cinema.
“And we’re already speaking to a number of families who are looking at the 8K version which is significantly bigger and quite hard to imagine. That's really where it becomes a piece that transforms a space. It’s very exciting. Certainly, the response from the market has been good. We showcased it at CES originally and people saw it for the first time and were blown away.”
There are some big differences between the Luxe and Pro versions. Crowhurst explains: “Previously, people have seen the Pro version, now we've got the Luxe version, which is really for the home and there are some significant differences, primarily frame rates. The Pro version has a low frame rate, but on the Luxe version you have a higher frame rate which means sport and fast-moving video looks fantastic.”
The Wall comes without any speakers to allow consumers to choose their preferred audio option. “We’re agnostic on the audio,” says Crowhurst. “What we found speaking to some of the homeowners that it's going to, they tend to have a preferred audio solution so we will work with whatever they want to work with. At Harrods we are showing it on Samsung Family Harman, the latest high end speakers. But we've seen people invest £30,000 to £150,000 on speakers to go along with this incredible TV.”
Crowhurst explains that they can facilitate private viewings of The Wall at the new Harrods department for people who would like to remain private and keep their anonymity. But having this facility allows customers to see it without having to fly all the way to Frankfurt.
The technical specifications of The Wall make it really stand out from any other display available to consumers for their homes. “The big breakthrough here is that unlike your traditional TV where you are using back lights to light up the LCD glass, here it’s the Micro LED where we have little diodes that give you the light,” he explains. “And what that enables us to do that's really different is, because it's modular, you can stack them together to make almost as big a canvas as you would like. What we're showing here is very traditional 16:9 aspect ratio shape. But of course, the beauty with the diodes is that we can pretty much do anything. What I'm sure we'll find with some individuals as they start to deploy it is they will start using it in a more creative way, maybe a different shape than just your traditional 16:9 aspect ratio.
“There's two key elements of technology that we've got here. We have the black base, which is our Black Seal Technology. And one of the challenges is that these diodes are significantly more fragile from your traditional TV. And of course, whilst I know that it's expensive, children don't, and they run up and touch them and do whatever they want. So the Black Seal Technology really is a combination of two things: it gives us the protection we need for the children that can touch it, but it also gives us this incredibly dark black. And that's really what gives us insane darkness of the black and the clarity of the colour is incredible. And the second one helps us to get a very small bandwidth of the colour of the diode choice. And that is why our colours are so true to the real life. Those two combined with Samsung's innovation on AI upscaling technology, which means that if we're showing 2K content on the 4k screen, it'll auto upscale the content for you, therefore makes that viewing experience even more clear.”
The Wall Luxe is a modular screen that can essentially be built to any shape or size required by building the LED panels together. As simple as it might sound, installation of the screen is actually very challenging. The weight and size of the screen can sometimes cause issues with keeping the panels seamlessly fixed together after installation takes place. Crowhurst indicates: “LED is always modular, and you can stack them together to make pretty much any size you want. But the key things for The Wall is that you need an absolutely flat structure to mount it on, because if the structure even moves half a millimetre, you start to see the seams. It is to be expected when you install LED as it takes time to settle. The structure that it’s bolted onto will bend fractionally or slowly just sink with the weight of the screen. Then what we do after a week, we come back and tighten the z axis and x axis and make it so it’s hard to see the seams.
Unlike ordering a normal TV, consumers can’t just pay for this and take it away, as Crowhurst explains: “It’s a very specialised process. We will sell The Wall at Harrods for this price tag but it’s subject to a site survey. We need to make sure that it’s going to be suitable for the home. We send out Samsung’s Blue Glove service to visit the home.
“Often, we are replacing something, so we have to make sure it’s going to fit in that space. Do we need to rip out the marble to make it bigger? What speaker system has the client got already and will it be placed externally or built in the wall behind the screen? We then come back to Harrods and build an indicative quote for the customer and they can then decide whether they want to proceed or not. So there is a bit more complexity to selling this than a normal Samsung TV.”