Samsung banks on ambiance for 2018 QLED screen range, previews new Atmos soundbar

posted on Thursday, 8th March 2018 by Steve May

4K  HDR  QLED 

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Samsung took the wraps off its 2018 range at an event at the American Stock Exchange building in Manhattan, introducing a number of new features and design ideas. QLED will be slightly different this year, with the introduction of the world’s first cadmium-free Quantum Dot technology.

During his keynote, Samsung President of Visual Display Jonghee Han says the new sets will remove barriers to setup and access. “With our 2018 TV lineup, we are changing the definition of visual display to Intelligent Displays. Designed for total immersion and to enhance the daily lives of consumers everywhere, all while being incredibly easy to use.”

Samsung’s intelligence platform, Bixby, will make its debut on 2018 TVs, but only in the US and Korea. The new sets are compatible with other SmartThings devices.

2018-QLED-TV_Q9F Crop

Perhaps the most interesting innovation is a new Ambient Mode zone, which will allow connected QLED TVs to present news, weather and traffic when ostensibly ‘off’. It can also function as a music player or run colour screens to blend in with a wall. As part of this, the company announced a content partnership with the New York Times. Times CEO Mark Thompson said “QLED TV’s Ambient Mode is an exciting new way for viewers to experience journalism.”

Panasonic showed a similar info screen display on a concept transparent LCD screen several CES shows ago, but it has never come to market.

The 2018 Samsung QLED line-up includes one direct QLED backlight model, the Q9FN (pictured above). Direct Full Array backlighting technology reduces blooming and halo effects. A new Q Engine technology will upscale non-native 4K to UHD level. Samsung also reaffirmed commitment to 8K, with the promise of the 85-inch Q9SN.

There’s also a new Dolby Atmos soundbar incoming, the HW-N950. Due later this year, the bar also supports DTS:X. The HW-K950 claims to offer 7.1.4 surround sound. Also new for 2018 is the HW-N650, a soundbar being touted at gamers, which uses Acoustic Beam Technology for immersive audio. Also announced is the HW-NW700, a wall-mount soundbar designed to match this year’s QLED range.

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The QLED range comprises the Q9FN (available in 75-, 65- and 55-inch sizes), the Q8CN curved (in 65- and 55-inch), the Q7FN (75-, 65- and 55-inch) and aformentioned. Q6FN (82in, 75in, 65in, 55in, 49in).

The promise this year is of brighter HDR, will all HDR models hitting at least 1500 nits peak brightness, with the exception of the entry level Q6FN.

Installers will have the choice of a new 5m (in the box) or 15m (available as an option). This dramatically simplifies where a screen (Q7F or higher) can be mounted. A new, larger One Connect box also now provides power to the screen.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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