First Look: Samsung JS9500 2015 SUHD 4K TV

What does the 'S' stand for? Whatever you want.

by Steve Withers Feb 19, 2015 at 5:32 PM

  • Last week Samsung invited AVForums down to their QA Labs to present their strategy for 2015, explain their latest technology and give us an early look at their new flagship SUHD TV - the JS9500.
    So obviously our first question was what does the ’S’ stand for in SUHD? According to Samsung it can stand for whatever you want - Samsung, Super, Superb, Splendid… Well you get the idea but more importantly what SUHD really stands for is an Ultra HD 4K TV that will meet the requirements of the forthcoming UHD standards. Samsung feel that their latest line-up of UHD TVs represent the next stage in display evolution and combine all the key elements - larger immersive screen sizes, greater resolution, increased brightness, higher dynamic range and a wider colour space.

    There will be three new SUHD series in the 2015 line-up - the flagship S9500, the S9000 and the S8500. In the case of the JS9500 there will be screen sizes of 65, 75 and 88 inches, whilst in the case of the JS9000 and JS8500 there will be screen sizes of 48, 55 and 65 inches. Of course all these models will be curved and Samsung plan to offer curved screens in five different series over twelve models this year. Samsung sold over one million curved TVs in 2014 and expect to see significant growth in 2015 with more panel manufacturers making curved models this year. The amount of curve will also be optimised depending on the screen size.

    Samsung UE65JS9500

    In terms of Ultra HD TV sales in general, there has been a sharp expansion in the last year with sales going from 2 million in 2013 to 12 million in 2014. Samsung are expecting UHD sales to exceed 30 million in 2015 and to meet this demand they will be offering 42 different models this year, as opposed to only 15 last year. One of the main reasons for the unprecedented growth in UHD TV sales has been the falling price differential between UHD and Full HD, with that premium dropping from £500 to £250 over the last year. This sudden increase in UHD TV sales has caught everyone by surprise, with broadcasters, streaming services and the Blu-ray Disc Alliance all scrambling to catch up.

    The other area that has seen significant growth over the last few years is in terms of screen sizes. Demand for smaller screen sizes has been falling, whilst sales of screen sizes of 55 inches and over have increased by more than twenty percent. In the case of 60/65-inch screen sizes this growth has been over thirty percent. To address this Samsung will offer sixteen models with screen sizes of 65-inches and bigger, as well as offering a 55-inch screen size in their entry level 5 series. Naturally this being Samsung, the design has also had an upgrade with greater emphasis on curves and an increased use of metal.
    The success of Ultra HD has caught everyone by surprise but Samsung will be offering 42 different models in 2015.
    That's enough general information, let's take a closer look at the new technology that can be found on the JS9500 SUHD TV. This TV will incorporate Samsung's proprietary Nano Crystal technology, along with a new 10-bit panel that uses an improved light source with higher transmittance. The SUHD TVs will also use octal-core processing with quantum colour expression, a peak illuminator and content-orientated PQ enhancements. So what does this actually mean? Well Samsung having been developing their proprietary Nano Crystal technology since 2001 and feel that they can now deliver purer and more precise colours. A traditional LED LCD TV uses a blue LED covered in a yellow phosphor to create the white backlight and then filters to create all the colours. This results in lower brightness and less purity, especially where green and red are concerned.

    By using a blue LED and red and green nano crystals, the technology can adjust the size and thus the wavelength of the ultra fine particles in the nano crystal layer and, as a result, the TV can produce a much wider range of colours with greater precision and clarity. Samsung said that their new range of SUHD TVs will be able to deliver 92% of DCI, which is the colour space they expect to be used for UHD going forward. In addition to better colours, the cell structure of the panel has been changed to improve the transmittance making it 37% brighter. The new more reliable blue LED is also 20% more efficient, thus improving the black levels, resulting in a better contrast ratio. The panel also offers 10-bit colour depth which will be a mandatory part of the new UHD standards and it delivers four times the colour detail of an 8-bit panel.

    Samsung UE65JS9500

    Samsung's SUHD TVs have adopted a new algorithm that has been optimised for their new panels. As a result the Quantum Colour Expression processing uses an increased number of colour adjustment points to better map content to the wider colour space. The Peak Illuminator allows the TV to take full advantage of its increased brightness and improved contrast ratio to increase the brightness to 1,000nit without using additional power. The Peak Illuminator analyses the image and converts energy from the dark parts of the picture to the bright parts, thus improving the contrast ratio and boosting the dynamic range. The JS9500 also uses a direct backlight and local dimming to produce a superior overall performance. Finally the Auto Depth Enhancer has been improved and now works on an object-based rather than area-based methodology.

    Samsung feel that this approach allows them to create the best TV that they possibly can at a realistic price. Whilst they're still developing OLED, they feel that, at the moment, OLED can't deliver the wider colour space and increased dynamic range needed to meet the upcoming UHD standards. As expected these standards mean that UHD won't just offer increased resolution, it will also use 10-bit colour depth, 100/120p frame rate, high dynamic range and a maximum colour space of Rec.2020 - although DCI is more likely to be used in practice. In addition there will be a chroma sub-sampling rate of 4:2:0 for 50/60/100/120p and 4:2:2 for 24/25/30p; along with support for HDCP 2.2 copy protection. A new Ultra HD logo has been developed that will identify UHD TVs that can meet certain minimum criteria.
    The SUHD line of TVs are designed to offer the best performance possible and be compatible with the upcoming UHD standards.
    Samsung's JS9500 is very much a statement of intent and, as their flagship TV, it includes more than just all the latest picture enhancements. It also supports 3D, uses a redesigned remote, has the latest version of the One Connect box and includes Samsung's new smart platform powered by Tizen. We had a chance to watch some normal Full HD content and some specially mastered Ultra HD content with a wider colour space and higher dynamic range and the images being produced were very impressive. We'll have to wait until the UE65JS9500 comes in for review before we can fully evaluate the new TV but it looks like Samsung won't be letting go of their crown without a fight.

    Aside from the JS9500, there will be the JS9000 which has almost the same features as the flagship but has the Pro Peak Illuminator rather than the Ultimate version and doesn't have a direct backlight, so Precision Black rather than the Pro version. The JS8500 has almost the same features as the JS9000 but loses the One Connect box and has quad-core processing instead. The JU7500 has similar features to the JS8500 but has the Peak Illuminator rather than the Pro version, whilst the JU7000 is a flat screen version of the JU7500, so it's the same except it doesn't have Auto Depth Enhancer and has the Contrast Enhancer instead.

    Moving down the line there's the JU6610 and JU6600 which lose the Peak Illuminator and Precision Black but have curved screens and the Auto Depth Enhancer. The JU6400 and JU6300 are essentially the same but have flat screens, so again they have Contrast Enhancer instead of Auto Depth Enhancer. It isn't until we reach the J6300 that we find a Full HD TV, which uses a curved screen and Auto Depth Enhancer. Then there's the J6200 and J5500 which use Full HD flat screens but still have quad-core processing, Smart TV and built-in WiFi; whilst the entry level J4500 is HD Ready but also includes quad-core processing, Smart TV and built-in WiFi. Samsung's new TV line-up will begin shipping in early April, although we have yet to receive any confirmation on price.

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