Samsung’s 2018 range includes 8K and TV that blends into background
In a week that has seen LG and Sony announce what customers can look forward to in the year ahead, Samsung aims to steal the show with talk of its 85-in 8K TVs, HDR10+ and a rather cool ‘Ambient Mode’ among its 14 newly developed QLED models.
Samsung may have attracted a lot of headlines lately for prototypes like ‘The Wall’ (a 146-in MicroLED TV) and its 10m 3D LED cinema screen demo at ISE 2017 – the key word here being ‘prototype,’ as there’s no firm information on either of the products’ release (apart from a summer launch for the former) – but at its latest press conference, the Korean TV giant firmly focused on what lies ahead in 2018.
What’s got most people talking post-press conference is the newly introduced ‘Ambient Mode’ – aka a chameleon-inspired approach to screen technology which runs off the SmartThings app. Essentially, this allows the TV to recreate what’s behind it when not in use, whether that be a specific wall colour or pattern (or specific information or a photo from a smartphone), when not in use. Samsung says TVs can do this using little power, with the ability to adapt to light conditions for the most efficient usage. Perfect for those who hate their TV being the focus of a room.
Samsung was also keen to stress its support for HDR10+ (varying dependant on the TV), and that its smart TV platform will be powered by Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant (instead of S-Voice) in its hopes to rival LG, who just announced that its new line of LG “AI-enabled” OLED TVs which will also support voice commands on its WebOS Smart TV platform. With SmartThings support, user will easily be able to control compatible devices right from their TV.
Pricing is not yet available for all models, but the Q6F TV will be available in 49-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 82-in models and both the Q7F and Q8F models will be available in 55-, 65- and 75-in models. At the other end of the spectrum, the flagship Q9F will come as either a 65 or 75-in display – the former of which will be priced at $3,800 in the US.
Samsung has furthermore improved its single cable system on the Q7F and Q9F models – still incorporating a single optical fibre wire that connects to a separate box that houses all of your typical inputs, and now the cable also carries power (although it’s now a bit chunkier, naturally). The TVs will come with a 5-metre cable, but a 15-metre option will also be available.
Samsung states that the Q8F and Q9F TVs incorporate a Direct Full Array backlight designed to offer better black levels than previous models (i.e. the edge-lit approach to 2017 models), although understandably some will be disappointed this is not a whole-range rollout.
These QLED TVs will hit retailers in the US later this month.
Although there may not be the content for it, there is also going to be a QLED TV with support for 8K (i.e. 7680 × 4320 resolution). The 85-in Q9S is expected be released in the second half of 2018.
Samsung is clearly affirming its QLED focus for 2018, but it also took the time to discuss non-QLED 4K TV ranges – the NU8500 and NU8000 models also will offer HDR10+ compatibility and Bixby voice control, and below these TVs will be two further 4K HDR lines coming in a range of sizes.
And outside of QLED, don’t rule out a foray into OLED being unveiled in the years ahead.