Samsung makes 8k QLED better, unveils 2019 4k QLED TV fleet

posted on Wednesday, 20th February 2019 by Steve May

8K  4K  HDR  home cinema  Trade show 

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Samsung has announced a new 8k line for 2019, including its largest ever 4320p TV. The incoming Q950R will be available in screen sizes from 65-inch through to a stunning 98-inch model.

Previewing the sets at a Samsung Forum dealer event in Porto, Portugal, the brand confirmed all its 2019 shipments would feature a full-spec HDMI 2.1 interface, capable of handling 8K/60P, a crucial element missing from its debut model.

The screens also incorporate new technology to improve off-axis viewing. Ultra Viewing Angle effectively restructures the QLED panel so the backlight passes through the panel more evenly onto the screen. All of the 8k models use direct full-array backlights, and use the same Quantum 8k AI image processor as their predecessor.

Demonstrations of the screens, running native 8k test footage, proved hugely impressive, with outstanding colour fidelity and profound inky blacks (when viewed in the brightly lit Forum environment).

The company also unveiled an impressive new line of 4k UHD QLED TVs. The flagship Q90R (pictured below), is joined by the Q85R, Q80R and Q70R. All are full array direct LED models. An ‘entry-level’ Q60 QLED model uses edge lighting.

Q90 Black Level

Both the Q90R and Q85R uses a One Connect box, which opens options for installers.Both models impressed on their Forum debut, confirming significant advances in picture quality.

Screen sizes range from 43- to 82-inches. Samsung says it will push the new 75-inch super large size hard this year, reflecting a global shift to bigger screens.

According to global business information provider IHS Markit, the market for 75-inch or bigger TVs recorded 2.1 million units in 2018 and is expected to grow by 43 per cent to 3 million units this year and to 5.8 million units by 2022.

“This year, our QLED 8K and 4K line-ups are addressing the growing demand in the market for ultra-large TVs and we are proud to be able to deliver our most innovative and immersive line-up to date,” says Jongsuk Chu, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics.

It should be noted that Samsung is still not supporting Dolby Vision on any models. Instead it offers HDR and its open standard equivalent, HDR10+, along with HLG.

The class of 2019 are the smartest yet from Samsung. The latest iteration of the Tizen OS comes with Samsung’s Bixby AI-powered Intelligent Assistant. Bixby facilities voice search through Samsung’s Universal Guide, a curated content portal based on viewing preferences. It also integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Perhaps Samsung’s biggest coup, though, is the inclusion of an exclusive (for now) iTunes Movies and TV Shows app and support for Apple AirPlay 2. Using the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app, viewers can access their iTunes library and browse the iTunes Store directly from the set, with no set top box required. They can also play content from their Apple mobile devices direct to the TV.

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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