As exclusively tipped by ChannelNews Samsung has used a New York event to launch a new TV range but it appers that at this stage Australia is only getting a limited range and it’s not the best on offer from Samsung, though this could change in the second half of the year.
instead of Okay Google or Hello Alexa Samsung is set to deliver Bixby voice via a new remote, they have also expanded on their Frame concept, none of this is mentioned in the Australian press release.
As for the new top end range there is not much to see, due in part to a new concept called Ambient Mode which is remarkably similar to Philip’s Ambilight.
How this works is that before you mount the TV, you’ll snap a picture of the wall it’s going to hang on—it doesn’t matter if it’s brick, wood, patterned wallpaper, or just a white wall—and then after it’s up, you can set that picture as the TV’s background.
Gimmick or practical the whole idea is that the TV looks like a floating black rectangle mounted on a wall and to make things even more realistic Samsung has even thrown in a digital version of the shadow the black rectangle surround would cast on the wall, as if there really wasn’t a large LED panel sitting in the middle of the thin metal strips.
The only problem is how will retailers demonstrate the new offering as most TV’s are stand mounted in stores.
Another problem is that consumers are moving back to centralised swivel mounts as opposed to legs according to European research.
Q9F 65”, 75”, 88”
Q8F 55”, 65”
Q7F 55”, 65”, 75”
Q6F 55”, 65”, 75”
The new TV’s have a built-in timer so that the ambient setting will turn off after a while which is needed considering the cost of electricity in Australia.
Missing from the range is any built in Alexa or Google voice technology that is coming in LG, Sony and Panasonic TV’s later this year instead Samsung users will have to use their Bixby remote.
Hass Mahdi, Head of Product AV, Samsung Australia has not explained how Samsung is set to compete with new OLED TV’s that LG will launch shortly or how Samsung intends to lift volume sales that have been hurt by cheap bottom end Hisense TV’s.
If the Samsung aesthetics gimmick works and consumers buy into it Samsung could have a key point of difference, but their problem is that most TV’s in Australia are leg mounted for use on a cabinet and their competition are set to deliver voice command TV’s that eliminate the need for a remote.
One thing that is noticeable is that the new Samsung offering delivers a big move away from giant black rectangles owners been hanging on walls.
Mimicking the Frame concept that Samsung launched last year the new top end TV offering is meant to look like a picture frame hung on a wall, with a rotating gallery of artwork on display whenever anyone is nearby.
This year there will be both 4K and 8K resolution TV’s on offer, but I seriously doubt that Samsung’s 8K upscaling technology is going to deliver a true 8K picture as there is simply too much data in an 8K movie to upscale the content, what they are delivering does show a difference between 4K and 8K.
At this stage it appears that Australia will not get the 8K models in the short term.
The Samsung 8K technology which is found in the 85″ Q9SN has been described as an absolute beast by SmartHouse reviewer John Archer.
For starters, the fact that its 85-inch screen plays host to an 8K resolution rather than the 4K one you’ve only just got used to means you can enjoy its gargantuan pictures without having to worry about visible pixel structure.
Samsung is also providing the Q9SN with a completely new processing system for converting non-8K sources (as in, pretty much everything!) to 8K, driven by an ‘AI’ approach that sees the TV constantly learning how best to handle different source types.
In the rest of the range Samsung has tweaked their TV technology.
As with last year’s sets, the 2018 Samsung QLED pictures will be driven by the brand’s metal-clad Quantum Dots.
According to Archer, these dots have been improved by decreasing the width of wavelength they produce. This has resulted, Samsung claims, in 5% more colour purity – enough, apparently, to enable all the new Samsung QLED models to cover a full 100% of the key DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema) colour spectrum.
What’s more, since there are no white sub-pixels involved in the construction of Samsung’s QLED TVs, they should be able to retain full colour saturation even in the brightest areas – something OLED TVs currently struggle to do (though OLED screens, of course, have up to now generally had the advantage with dark scenes).
The single most important change Samsung has made for its 2018 QLED range, though, is the introduction to some models of direct LED lighting, where the LEDs sit directly behind the screen. This superior lighting approach will be partnered with local dimming, too (involving hundreds of separate zones.
This should result in a contrast performance that eclipses that of any of 2017’s QLED sets. Especially as Samsung is claiming peak brightness levels of more than 1500 nits for the Q7, Q8 and Q9 series.
Samsung’s new Ambient mode means you no longer have to put up with a black screen when you’re not watching the TV.
It’s not just through hardware changes, though, that Samsung claims to have transformed the contrast of its QLED TVs for 2018. There are apparently some powerful new contrast software algorithms too.
Liquid crystal phase difference compensation, for instance, is claimed to reduce diagonal light leakage from the LCs by as much as 40%.
Greyscale is now separately controlled by the new Q Engine processor to retain shadow detail better in dark areas, and each frame is analysed to figure out more precisely where the maximum light output needs to go to boost the brightest parts of the picture without compromising black levels elsewhere.
Another processing enhancement increases the backlight driving in the middle of a bright area and subtly decreases it at its edges, thus minimizing backlight blooming around bright objects.
All 2018 QLED TVs will support the new HDR10+ format, with its dynamic tone mapping to improve contrast and colour accuracy. Also, though, Samsung’s new Q Engine picture processing chip can apply a new ‘virtual’ HDR10+ effect to standard HDR10 content. This analyses each HDR10 frame ‘on the fly’ to figure out how best to optimize its presentation.
Samsung has also tweaked their ‘invisible connection’ cable concept it introduced to its 2017 QLED TVs. The latest ultra-thin cable can now carry power to the screen as well as all picture and sound data, meaning 2018 QLED TVs only have a single cable running into them.
Carrying the power as well as the AV signals has required the latest Invisible Cable to become a bit wider (3.4mm versus last year’s 1.8mm). This seems a pretty fair trade off, though, for removing the need for a separate power cable.
The new Invisible Connection cable is also apparently stronger than its predecessor, attaches via an improved ‘clip’ system, and will be available in sizes up to 15m.
The 2018 QLED improvements extend to a more sophisticated smart TV platform than anything we’ve seen from Samsung before. A new Universal Browse & Play system, for instance, will bring together in one single screen recommendations from a variety of platforms – including, Netflix and Amazon.
Samsung is also promising greatly enhanced communication with your smart phones and tablets too, including being able to use them to make the initial TV set up process easier.
At CES in January, Samsung announced the new SmartThings app, which consolidates many of its older internet-of-things efforts into a central hub. This now extends to Samsung’s newest TVs, which can be used to control any smart device that can connect to the SmartThings system, like Amazon Echoes, Ring doorbells, and Philips Hue lights.
Speak into the remote, which is powered by Bixby, the same virtual assistant found in Samsung’s newer Galaxy smartphones and watch the devices around your home respond to your command. Some of the new QLED TVs, including the Q8 and Q9 models, feature darker blacks than any previous Samsung TV, using a new technology that effectively lights each LED and turns them off when they’re showing something dark, creating completely black areas on the screen.
The interface has also been updated on the televisions, with a new function called “Universal Guide,” which lets users search for any type of content, and then download or switch to the app or TV channel it’s on to watch it. The SmartThings app can automatically send your house’s WiFi login to one of the TVs, meaning you won’t have to run to the upstairs closet and read the password off the back of the router to get your TV connected to the internet.