The role of the TV is changing, so Samsung are changing too. 2018 is all about those sleek, sleek designs.
“In the past, it’s been like a tech beauty pagent,” Eena Kim, Creative Director of Samsung’s Visual Display team told me this morning at the launch in New York.
“It’s all about who has the best colours, the best specs, the best picture – but we have forgotten who we are speaking to – who we are designing for.”
Releasing on our shores in April (local price to be confirmed) Samsung’s 2018 QLED range will come in four varieties – the Q9F (65-inch, 75-inch, 88-inch), Q8F (55-inch, 65-inch), Q7F (55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch) and Q6F (55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch).
The flagship Q9 model, as well as the Q8, will come with Direct Full Array contrast technology – in layman’s terms, this means the LEDs can be controlled directly and precisely so you can get great contrast on your screen.
We’ve seen DFA in both Sony and Panasonic televisions, but Samsung shied away from introducing it until now, instead using Edge LED technology. DFA will mean a thicker screen (I’m chasing down full specs for y’all as we speak), but picture quality will definitely improve, since Edge just can’t offer the same amount of control over LED luminance.
Samsung are a little light on any other technical details at the moment – it’s clearly not the focus – but I’m digging.
Here’s what I do have a whole bunch of info for you on: design.
“The television has been in the same place for years,” Kim says. “We want to give freedom to your television – so you can design your space anyway and anywhere you want to.”
First cab of the rank for turning your TV into something other that a TV because everyone is watching Netflix on their laptops these days – Ambient Mode.
The idea is for your TV to still serve a purpose even when you’re not actively using it. To turn it into a “Life Dashboard”. We’re talking traffic information, the weather, local news (and headlines from The New york Times), your Spotify playlist cranking in the background.
but the “wow” factor of Ambient mode comes in with what’s on the display itself. it can be what’s on your wall. Using a dedicated app on your phone, you can take a picture of your wall, then Ambient mode will fill in the banks to display the same thing – be it a pattern or a solid colour – on your screen.
The example we were shown was of a brick wall.
Ambient Mode utilises a sensor just below the logo to work out when you’re in the room, and displays your “wall” (not to be confused with The Wall). You can set a timer so it stays on for a specific amount of time, too.
basically, the new QLEDs are designed to be as attractive as possible, design-wise. And that includes making the cables almost invisible.
One Clear Connect
There is only one cord coming from Samsung’s 2018 QLED range – running both data and power in a clear fibre optic cable. They won’t tell us how they’ve done it. The response I’m getting? “Magic”.
It also uses Teflon, though, which is basically magic, right?
Yeah, it’s not quite good enough for me, either – so I’ll be pushing until I find out exactly how this is done.
The cable itself comes in 5m and 15m options, and runs to a box where you connect all of your home entertainment products – gaming consoles, home theatre equipment etc.
Samsung says this is the first singular cable in the TV industry that can transmit AV high capacity data at the speed of light, while also transmitting power.
There’s an insulation system that breaks the electrical current if the cable is cut off, too – for safety reasons, obviously.
The new QLEDs have HDR10+ compatibility, and the One Remote Control, too.
We are on the ground at the launch event in new York right now, and will bring you more information as it is revealed.
This story is updating…
Gizmodo Australia travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung Australia.