With every videophile worth his or her salt wanting a piece of the 3840 pixels that 4K and Ultra High-Definition have to offer, it’s no secret that television brands are shifting focus to the next phase of adoption.
Samsung has been making UHD TVs for a couple of years now but this is the first time ever in the history of the brand that it has chosen to unveil a new model year range in front of a global audience, in a city like Paris, in a place like the Louvre! Every detail hints at how Samsung has aspirations beyond mere resolution and smart features. And the results were honestly, not disappointing at all. An all-new generation of TV technology has been introduced by Samsung and since it’s proprietary, it has been dubbed QLED. Not to be confused with OLED, this new tech that is based on Samsung’s established Quantum Dot technology that is being used in their UHD LED panels since 2016.
Only now, these nano particles are infused with a metal core for even more dynamic contrast, wider viewing angles and unprecedented brightness. In fact, Samsung claims that this new Q range of QLED TVs will deliver between 1500-2000 nits of brightness which is almost twice that of OLED panels on sale today.
Samsung also claims that the reason it chose not to go with OLED tech even though they are the leaders in using OLED screen tech for their smartphones is because of the limited life span of 2-3 years of OLED tech right now. Sure, we don't intend to trash a TV worth half a million Rupees in a couple year’s time, do we now?
Beyond the call of 4K
But like every Batman has a Robin, 4K has a secret ally, and that is HDR (High Dynamic Range) and in our recent experience, HDR is actually more game changing than spraying additional pixels onto your eyeballs.
The QLED range has the latest iteration of HDR that is now similar to the Dolby Vision HDR, which means every single scene can be tone-matched for the perfect colour gradation, offering even more dynamic contrast than previously possible. Being dubbed as HDR 10+, the QLED range will be the first in the world to be certified by the UHD Alliance to be compatible with this new standard and it’s supposed to be so promising that Samsung collaborated with 20th Century Fox to establish the Fox Innovation Labs in Hollywood to ensure future blockbusters benefit from this new tech.
Fox is now apparently using QLED technology to make a mastering monitor that will be used by content creators. Incidentally, the QLED TVs achieve a 100% colour volume, the highest on the market today and accredited by VDE, one of Europe’s largest technical-scientific associations.
Design your space
Design has always been at the forefront of every Samsung event since the last few years and the QLED launch was no different. Having roped in renowned Swiss industrial designer Yves Behar to craft an all metal body that looks good front and back, multiple mounting options and also a whole different concept for a living room TV, Samsung isn’t holding back for 2017.
The QLED range will be available in a variety of stands that include the fantastic-looking easel stand to give your living room a studio-like look, the gravity stand for table tops that need a swivelling function and a unique no-gap wall-mount option that puts the TV flush to your wall, unlike any previous wall-mount design.
This is especially appreciated on the flat models, but even some of the new curved panels seem to gain more gravitas with this kind of mount. To make things easier for the installer and hide any unsightly tangles of wires, each stand has a cable management system. Notice our grammar here, we said “cable” and that’s because Samsung has spent the last three years developing a single cable that is transparent enough, thin enough and future-proof enough to carry up to 75Gbps for home networking use.
The result is a proprietary optical cable that almost disappears from view and is the only connection between the TV and the One Connect Box which can be mounted away elsewhere. The cable itself will be available in lengths of 5mts or 15mts, so that’s how far your electronics like set-top box, games console or Blu-ray player can be from the TV itself, making for an ultra-clean-looking set-up.
Even the remote has gone through an overhaul. The Samsung One Remote Control now supports voice commands across more Smart TV apps and works more seamlessly with the Smart View app on Android or iOS. The TV Plus service works like an aggregator of 4K content and makes it easy to find, purchase and watch the latest UHD films from various apps while the new Music service allows for identification of songs heard in movie backgrounds, thanks to a partnership with Shazam.
Made for India
With feedback from its local R&D Centre, Samsung has made some key changes to the 2017 range of TVs. Each of the QLED models now allow streaming not just from your smartphone to the TV but also can stream audio from the TV back to the smartphone if you are working in another area and still wish to catch up the latest jabs from the bahu to the saas.
This is now possible without internet connectivity, citing poor bandwidth in a lot of Indian towns and villages. So, kudos to Samsung for being hyper-local about a global flagship TV!
The Q9, Q8 and Q7 models are now on sale in India, with pre-orders on at Samsung's website. We'll be getting the new QLED sets in 55 inches (138cm), 65 inches (163cm), 75 inches (189cm) and 88 inches (223cm), with prices ranging from ₹3,14,900 to ₹24,99,900. Samsung's also got an enticing offer for early birds - you'll get a free Samsung Galaxy S8+ along with your new TV!