2018 is being a "rare" year in the television market. At CES in January we saw a lot of prototype: 88-inch and 8K OLED TV from LG, The Wall with Samsung’s MicroLED and Sony with its X1 Ultimate chip. All these technologies with a view to the future, but little concrete about the models of this year. Precisely what little we had seen of consumption so far shows us that the high-end 4K TVs have reached maturity and this may be a year of transition.
We saw it with Sony, which this year introduced the OL8 AF8 as an alternative (and not a substitute) for OLED A1 last year: cheaper and different design, and otherwise everything is the same. Or with LG, which has not yet given many details but incorporates in its new models OLED artificial intelligence with some update of specifications. The big unknown until now was knowing what Samsung would do with its high-end QLED televisions. After today's presentation in New York we have the answer and I already tell you that there are few surprises: models with improvements but very similar to what we had the previous year.
Follow the bet for the QLED
Regarding technology, few surprises regarding what they insist over and over again from the brand every time we ask them about the televisions of the future: Samsung is still betting on the QLED that it introduced in its models last year. Although we have talked to you several times about the technology, in essence it is an evolution of the LCD in which the activation of the pixels is done individually.
It has its advantages with respect to OLED: it does not use organic material (and therefore in theory there are no burns or retentions) and it is capable of achieving more brightness. The big disadvantage is precisely that they are not OLED and QLED panels need an external light source to display the image, just like LCD panels. This in practice means that they do not reach the same level of blacks as the televisions that use this technology.
This year's QLED range consists of the following models:
Samsung QLED Q9F (flat in 65, 75 inches)
Samsung QLED Q8C (curve at 55, 75 inches)
Samsung QLED Q8F (flat at 55, 65 inches)
Samsung QLED Q7F (flat 55, 65 and 75 inches)
Samsung QLED Q6F (flat 49, 55, 65, 75 and 82 inches)
In the absence of Samsung confirming the specific specifications of each model, everything seems to indicate that all of them, except the Q9F, are Edge LED models, that is, with lighting in the side frames. Only the Q9FN incorporates Direct Full Array technology, with LED mesh lighting across the entire surface of the panel instead of just on the sides. The advantage of this is that light losses are better controlled than with lighting only in the frames.
We will have to wait for the specific specifications to see the other differences, but here, and if we are guided by what happened in 2017, it is possible that the differences between models are limited to the power of sound and small software improvements. We will keep you informed.
As a curiosity, and to close this section, two brief observations:
Just a curved TV, the Q8C. We have already seen this trend in other manufacturers, who increasingly bet less on this format.
Every time we see bigger models in high range but also in medium ranges. Then we will talk about LED models, but this year's NU80005 reaches 82 ".
Continuity design with new "all in one" cable really
How do you innovate in design if basically your TV from last year is reduced to a rather fine frame in its own right and the module of the cables that goes to part? Well ... complicated, but Samsung has shown that it can. Samsung's new QLED telescopes bring new pedestals, better quality and with different finishes, but little else in that aspect. And, as I say, they keep the idea of the previous model: the screen on one side and the cable module on the other.
Where there is newness is in the way of joining screen and One Connect module. Last year they presented what they called "Almost Invisible Optical Cable", which allows to unite with a single fiber optic cable and almost transparent the screen to the "brain" of the TV. As an idea, it was very well thought out, but there was a problem: the power cord was missing.
This year the cable becomes "One Invisible Cable", and that is just a real cable: it passes everything necessary to reproduce the image on the panel and the power. It is made of Teflon and, as they explain, is prepared so that in case of cutting it automatically interrupts the electric current. Of course, all this has a cost: at least in the photos it seems a little thicker and more bulky than last year.
Finally, they release a new feature called "Ambient Mode", with which you can take a picture of your wall with your mobile phone and the bottom of the TV turned off will become that image and no longer the classic black. On the background will be shown information useful to the user, such as messages, time or other notifications. With this Samsung wants to achieve, in their own words, "a transparent-looking screen”. Another option that includes is the possibility of imitating the The Frame model and pretending that the TV was a picture (but without the wooden frame).
And total bet for the software
Another of the main novelties of the new QLED is in the software. They have introduced improvements when setting up the TV and, according to what they explain, make the synchronization between mobile apps and TV apps easier without having to enter passwords one by one on TV. They also include a new "more intuitive" programming guide. Regarding the operating system of your Smart TV, no surprise: Samsung keeps Tizen .
The two great novelties of this year, yes, are others. The main one: the television becomes for Samsung the central axis of its ecosystem of Internet of things, that is, the TV will be the hub to which they will connect and from which all the devices with Smart Things can be controlled. And the other novelty: Bixby, the digital assistant of Samsung. From the company they confirm that it will not be available in Spain when they launch the televisions, but it will arrive later, without specifying date.
Samsung QLED 2018, price and availability
The new QLED 2018 televisions from Samsung will arrive in Spain in April, although we still do not know the prices. We will update with any news.