Samsung 2018 QLED TV range announced
Are they enough to get back on top of the premium market?
Samsung has just staged a launch for its 2018 range of QLED TVs at the 2018 First Look New York event at the American Stock Exchange building in Manhattan.While we can’t guarantee that the UK line-up will mirror that in the US – Samsung has a habit of releasing TVs with identical product names that vary in specification between territories – it should give us a good idea of what to expect when Samsung UK and Europe confirms its plans.
During the keynote presentation, Samsung Electronics President of Visual Display Jong-hee Han and other Samsung executives explained how the 2018 flagship TV line offers an 'unmatched home entertainment experience', meant to remove barriers to setting up and displaying the TV and streamlining access to content.
“With our 2018 TV lineup, we are changing the definition of visual display to Intelligent Displays,” said President Jonghee Han. “Designed for total immersion and to enhance the daily lives of consumers everywhere, all while being incredibly easy to use, the new QLED TV lineup provides users with the best viewing experience.”
This year’s QLED range will encompass four models; the flagship Q9F, the Q8F, Q7F/C and – wait for it – the entry-level Q6F. The 2017 range didn’t carry the Q6 so, perhaps, the flagging sales Samsung endured at the top end of the market last year means they decided a more affordable alternative was required. Samsung was criticised last year – including by ourselves – for being too expensive when compared to the rest of LED LCD competition, not to mention the raft of OLED TVs on the market.
The Q9 comes in screen size options of 55-, 65-, 75-inch the US gets an 88-inch option. The Q8F has 55-, 65- and 75-inches, the Q7C is the only curved option and comes in either 55- or 65-inches, while the Q7F – flat – offers 55-, 65-, 75-inch variants. Finally, the Q6F can be had in 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-or 82-inches.
All the QLED TVs feature enhanced colour and contrast, Ambient Mode, Smart TV enhancements with Bixby Voice, One Remote Control and the One Invisible Connection. Samsung has also improved specification at the top of the tree with the Q9 sporting Full Array Local Dimming (FALD), rather than the, generally inferior option, of being edge-lit. The Q8F is FALD in the US but looks to be edge-lit for the UK.
Ambient mode provides useful information throughout the day – even when you aren’t actively watching the set. It can play music as well as display news headlines, traffic reports, and weather updates. For wall-mounted TVs, Ambient Mode can mimic the pattern on the wall behind the TV to blend into the wall.
The new One Invisible Connection is one slim cable that combines both consumer’s power and AV data to the TV. Available up to 15 meters, it frees you from having to place their TV near data or power outlets.
The TVs as previously announced, will feature AI (Artificial Intelligence) based processing to achieve superior scaling – it will, after all, be necessary to ‘up-scale’ quite a lot of content to match the number of pixels in the panel. The TV is equipped with a database that studies and analyses millions of images in advance to transform low-resolution content into high-resolution. When fed with a source in low resolution, this feature of the QLED TV selects the optimal filter and converts the source into a high-quality image. In addition, by increasing image processing 64 times, the technology helps offer natural images in high-resolution, without compromising gradation in the picture, says Samsung.
Naturally, since Samsung is behind the format, all the QLED TVs will support HDR10+ (Plus) which gives content providers a way to supply dynamic metadata for HDR video as an alternative to the more established Dolby Vision. All the TVs should also support Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) HDR which is nailed on to be the format used in broadcast TV, although Samsung has yet to confirm this detail.
As is the recent trend, the 2018 TVs are designed to act as a control centre for Smart Home devices with Bixby, the manufacturer’s own voice and digital assistant, taking centre stage. Samsung will unite its IoT applications, including Samsung Connect, Smart Home, Smart View and more into the SmartThings app to connect and control any SmartThings-enabled device directly from their phone, TV, or car from a single application. Starting this year, Samsung Smart TVs will create a ‘connected fabric’ between devices to provide an effortless log-in for users from the moment the TV is unboxed. Bixby will also give TVs greater access to applications, the ability to easily search movies by genre and actors, and display personal photos and will operate on a single connected cloud platform, the SmartThings Cloud, serving as a smart dashboard to monitor and control connected devices.
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