Samsung’s 2018 QLED Line Takes A Center-Stage Bow
In a large-scale presentation attended by global media, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Wednesday officially launched its 2018 home entertainment lineup into the U.S. market, with its QLED TVs positioned as “intelligent displays” and centerpieces of the family lifestyle experience. The event was held at the American Stock Exchange Building in the heart of Manhattan’s Wall Street area.
J.H. Han, president of Samsung’s Visual Display Business said core drivers that were mandates in creating the QLED line were meeting consumers’ needs, wants, aspirations and pain points – and that these had informed the approach taken to both connectivity and entertainment. “These are guiding Samsung for 2018,” he said.
The company detailed a slew of technology and design elements in this flagship range that it said both answered buyers’ technology requirements while honoring their desire for an aesthetic that enabled the sets to blend into their environments whether they are turned on or off.
A key technology throughout the QLED line is Ambient Mode, which, when a button is pressed on the TV remote, will work as an automated, passive provider of traffic and weather conditions, news headlines (the company announced a partnership with The New York Times), artwork (or family photo collages) and background music, to name a few benefits. The owner can also, by snapping a photo of the TV and its surrounding wall, make the screen, chameleon-like, duplicate the wall’s exact pattern.
A new single-cable connection system, One Invisible Connection, combines both power and high-speed A/V data to the TV and, at a 15-meter length, permits a wider choice of TV placement options.
Samsung has also addressed connectivity complexity, enabling a feature it has named Effortless Login, which works with Samsung’s SmartThings app to streamline the TV setup. A new Universal Guide lets viewers navigate across streaming content and TV content through a single menu. And Samsung’s Bixby platform injects what the company’s Pedro Freitas, senior manager, service innovation, for Samsung Electronics America, called “personalized intelligence” into the QLED line, enabling music, movie and smart home control with voice commands – protected by the Samsung Knox data security feature.
The QLED TV lineup is replete with large-screen models ranging in size from 55 to 88 inches, and the 2018 sets reflect an expansion of size options over 2017. “It’s all about immersion – consumers want big screens,” declared Dave Das, senior vice president, product marketing for Samsung Electronics America. He revealed that in 2017. 40 percent of Samsung TV sales were of TVs 65 inches and above. “In 2018, that will increase to more than half of all Samsung TV sales,” he said. “But living rooms are still the same size, making image details even more important, which QLED technology answers.”
Including the QLED TV lines, the company is fielding nine series in total, including both flat and curved screens. The QLED sets carry enhanced color and contrast, HDR10+ compatibility, Ambient Mode, One Invisible Connection, and the Bixby voice control platform. They begin shipping this month.
The company also showed four new audio products including the HW-N950 Dolby Atmos soundbar, providing 7.1.4 surround sound. Other soundbars were targeted at gamers, for wall-mounting, and for attaching to metallic surfaces.
Also on display was The Wall, which uses Micro LED self-emitting modules to produce images up to 146 inches diagonally (available in August). And Das alluded to the impending introduction of the Q9S - what he said would be the first commercial 8K TV with Artificial Intelligence, which will be able to “upscale content to an 8K experience.”