Stressing beauty, size and functionality, along with a set of unique intelligence and aesthetic features, Samsung officially unveiled its 2018 QLED and Ultra HD TV lineup at a grandiose CES-style event at the American Stock Exchange building in lower Manhattan.
It also showed off three new soundbars, and announced the August availability of the MicroLED “wall” TV the company unveiled at CES.
Samsung will start selling packaged bundles of the TV’s remissive MicroLED modules, which can be assembled to create a variety of screen sizes up to 146 inches and aspect ratios, at prices to be announced.
Samsung also indicated it would soon start selling the 8K 85-inch QS9, but precise timing and pricing weren’t revealed.
Samsung’s main event, however, were the five relatively less exotic QLED TV lines, all featuring enhanced color and contrast, HDR10+ compatibility, and all due to start shipping in a couple of weeks: the flagship Q9F (65, 75, 88 inches), Q8F (55, 65, 75 inches), Q7C (55, 65 inches), Q7F (55, 65, 75 inches) and Q6F (49, 55, 65, 75, 82 inches). Pricing on the 65-inch versions range from $3,799 for the Q9F to $2,199 for the Q6F. The Q8F and Q9F include Direct Full Array (DFA) backlighting technology designed to adjust automatically for deeper blacks and purer whites.
All the QLED sets also include new Samsung UX, smart and aesthetic functions, including:
Ambient Mode: Designed to eliminate the ugly “black hole” a big screen TV presents in a living room, Ambient Mode allows consumers to create a wallpaper or background that matches the wall behind it, using the Samsung SmartThings app on a smartphone. The app with the “wall generation” tech included is due to be updated sometime this month for Android, “coming soon” for iOS. Consumers also will be able to display weather, news headlines, art/photos, or music.
Bixby Voice Control/Universal Guide: Accessed via the new One Remote Control, consumers will be able to search and navigate what they watch and control connected compatible SmartThing devices around the home through the TV via Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant. The new Universal Guide enables consumers to navigate across supporting streaming services and live TV through a single on-screen menu.
One Invisible Connection: Samsung’s single slim connection cable, introduced last year, now also carries power. Touted as “robust, high speed and future proof,” the cable will come in up-to 15-meter lengths, enabling “unlimited options to control your own space,” according to Jae Julien, VP of Samsung’s visual display UX team.
“Devices that were smart are becoming intelligent, and our TVs are a very special example of this intelligence,” said Jong-hee Han, president of Samsung’s visual display business. “Our efforts are to apply connectivity to push the user experience forward [and to be] the smart center of your connected home, providing information, content and services. Our QLED range recognizes the user, recommends new content they’d like, and offers instant, intuitive access to their favorite content. It’s more accurate to call them ‘intelligent displays.’ “
There also will be two new stands – Studio and Gravity – to match minimalist aesthetic tastes, as well a newly-designed wall-mount designed to be easy enough for one a single person to install, all intended so “a TV simply blends in without distraction.”
Also announced were two lines of standard LED LCD-based UHD: two Premium UHD models, NU8500 and NU8000, with dynamic crystal color, HDR10+ compatibility, clean cable solutions, and both Bixby Voice and the One Remote Control, and NU7100 and NU7300 UHD models with standard HDR, clean cable, and smart TV capabilities.
On the audio side, Samsung bowed three soundbars, each designed for specific uses. For instance, the
HW-K950 is a 7.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos model with front- , up- and side-firing speakers; the
HW-N650 designed for gamers with Acoustic Beam Technology designed to place players in the center of the action; and, the wall-mountable HW-NW700 soundbar designed to be matched with the company’s wall-mounted QLEDs.
Also announced was the hockey puck-like VL550, which magnetically attaches to any metallic surface and provides voice-control over music.