Hoping to make TVs easier to navigate, devices easier to control and living rooms prettier, Samsung has introduced a variety of new aesthetic and smart features and functions into its 2018 4K QLED TV lineup.
Due in stores in about a week or so are the Q9F, Q8F, Q7C, Q7F and Q6F series of UHD QLED models, available in a variety of sizes up to 88 inches. All include HDR10+ and Direct Full Array (DFA) backlighting technologies to create higher-contrast images, with the flagship 65-inch Q9F priced at $3,799.99. Other pricing, features and technical specs can be found on Samsung’s website.
Helping these new TVs blend into any home is Samsung’s fascinating Ambient Mode, which creates a wallpaper or screen background that matches the wall behind the set. The idea is to eliminate the black hole a turned-off TV creates that dominants the décor of any room. Using the Samsung SmartThings app, you can either choose a pre-set color or, if your wall presents a unique pattern, snap a photo of your wall. This image is then transmitted to your TV to create a matching wallpaper. Splashed over this wall-matched wallpaper can be the time and weather, news headlines, a selection of your own photos, or you can play music.
This Ambient Mode “wall generation” technology will be added to the SmartThings app for Android when the TVs go on sale, “coming soon” for iPhone.
Here’s a short video I took at Samsung’s media event, showing Ambient Mode in action:
Aiding placement flexibility, Samsung has added power to its single “Invisible Connection” cable, which connects the TV via one cable to your cable box, Blu-ray player, et al. You’ll be able to get lengths up to 15 meters (45 feet) so you can place your TV nearly anywhere in your room without being restricted by where your AV gear is housed. Also adding to room aesthetics are a new easy-to-mount wall mount system and a choice of two sleek stands, Studio and Gravity.
Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, comes with these models to not only navigate TV viewing selections and searches but also with a “Universal Guide” that searches both cable/satellite and streaming service for requested content.
Samsung also announced it would start shipping its “wall” microLED TV this August. MicroLED is a so-called remissive technology analogous to LG’s OLED, but is also modular – the TV comes in rectangular sections that are professional pieced together to form a TV in nearly any shape or aspect ratio and any size up to 146 inches. This “wall” TV will be sold in module bundles; nothing has been priced yet.
Also unveiled were three new soundbars – a 7.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos model (HW-K950), one designed for gamers with a more player-center-centric soundstage (HW-N650), and a wall-mountable model designed to match the new QLED sets (HW-NW700).