CES: Samsung Steps Up Home Theater Performance In 2023 AV Product Lines
Samsung used CES 2023 to announce key new TV evolutionary product plans for the upcoming year, including an 8K Premiere Ultra-Short Throw projector, Samsung’s next-gen Quantum OLED TVs and a revamped smart TV platform with advanced gaming, connectivity and two-way telemedicine capability.
The company also announced that it has revamped its Tizen smart TV platform with a new user interface experience and a veritable slew of next generation two-way video communications apps, features and options, including making telehealth consultations through the TV screen.
Eco-conscious Product Planning
In addition, Samsung is putting a lot of emphasis on eco-friendly products again this year by shrinking the size of its solar-cell rechargeable remotes and adding them to more models and TV series.
Samsung also said it has made it possible for viewers with special needs to more easily and practically customize TV functions to meet their requirements with features like Voice Guide, which calls out channel numbers for the seeing impaired, or Autocaption Position, which uses AI technology to automatically recognize text and logos, and then move on-screen caption boxes to different areas of the screen, automatically preventing any obstruction of an important visual element.
Working with hospital researchers, Samsung engineers found that highlighting contours in images and adjusting contrast or colors can increase a viewer’s ability to distinguish key visual elements by overlaying strong, high contrast edges around people and objects. Then dynamically adjusting screen colors, the technology delivers clearer, sharper and improved images, the company said.
It will be available on all Samsung Q70C and better 2023 TV models and can be activated using the remote or with voice commands through a smartphone app, the company said.
Smart Home TV
Also for 2023, Samsung continues to evolve the role of the TV in “how we watch, what we watch, and how we view the TV itself,” with a focus on the growing smart-home trend that has been rapidly expanding since 2018.
Samsung said for this year it consulted focus groups of Samsung TV users and has “changed the entire user interface (UI) on its TVs to reflect how people actually prefer to interact.” This includes an entirely new smart hub with access to the most valued connected experiences.”
In gaming, Samsung said it has addressed the massive growth in video game play seen during the pandemic.
For 2023, the Samsung Gaming Hub has been redesigned to serve as a one-stop-shop for hardcore PC gamers to casual players, alike, the company said. Samsung is addressing the trend now to accommodate the more than 51% of current gamers now playing on 4K screens, and who may want to upgrade to larger screens with superior picture quality.
Many of Samsung’s better TVs for 2023 will have improved advanced gaming features like company’s lowest input lag to date, multiple supporting HDMI inputs, and 4K resolution with up to 144 Hz speed. Other gaming features include Minimap Zoom and sharing, to help gamers “focus on the action and go for the win.”
In 2022, Samsung’s Gaming Hub was the first to partner with Xbox to bring the fastest growing segment cloud gaming into millions of homes. This year, Xbox or PlayStation console gamers will be able to easily connect the device via one of the display’s HDMI 2.1 ports and the Gaming Hub feature, and have it automatically recognized as the Gaming Hub populates the dashboard. Then players can quickly play, pause, leave and pick up a game exactly where they left off.
Further, Samsung said Gaming Hub users will be able to access more than 1000 cloud-based games by next spring. The Gaming Hub will help in the process by making recommendations based on the kinds of games players perfer while letting them listen to favorite tunes, when using partners like Xbox, Amazon, Luna and Video GeForce, and now in 4K, Utomic. In addition Ampstream and Black Nut clouding gaming is coming soon.
Starting in 2023, Samsung enhancing its SmartThings platform for “effortless connectivity,” requiring “the smallest possible amount of attention from the user,” the company said.
In 2023, Samsung TV users will be able to “simply turn on a new device and the connection process takes place automatically, and in the background.”
Samsung also continued to evolve the role of its TVs in the world of digital NFT digital art collecting. Samsung has partnered with leading NFT marketplaces to deliver unique content in new ways.
“Within our new NFT platform, we can now access a diverse selection of NFTs carefully curated from each partner,” Samsung said. The new NFT User Interface features events promoted by more than 1,000 artist partners.
With Covid-19 still evolving, Samsung has also focused on tele-health for 2023 by making it easier to connect patients with doctors and health specialists through Samsung TVs. Samsung Telemedicine is a new application developed specifically for Samsung smart TVs to make big screen telemedicine appointments simple. Users of certain 2023 Samsung smart TVs will be able to select from a list of symptoms, indicate how long they’ve been present, and the app will be able to provide virtual contacts to relevant, available doctors. Samsung said a networked doctor or specialist will generally connect within 60 seconds, then conduct an exam through video conferencing via the app and related devices, such as Samsung Galaxy Watches.
Once the exam is complete, users will be able to rate the experience, schedule a follow up or fill a prescription remotely, and have it delivered directly to the doorstep, via the new on-screen app.
In addition the TV will now be able to take key physical measurements and help users monitor their overall health. Samsung will be offering its first TV-based health monitoring service built for new QLED TVs, OLED TVs and smart monitors.
“Our new in home health monitoring technology gives you the option to monitor your health right from home with an optional camera,” Samsung said. “The app measures five key vital signs: heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and stress index.”
This is performed using a remote intelligent computer vision technology that assesses vital signs by detecting changes in facial skin color caused by heartbeats. The system is often contactless, accurate and easy to use, Samsund said.
“While it won’t replace a doctor for symptomatic concerns, the app will help you monitor your vital signs regularly and conveniently,” Samsung announced.
Samsung is also evolving video calling through its smart TVs using its own video call app in 2023. Users only need to download the app, customize alerts and set up a list of top contacts in order to engage in one-tap video calling, Samsung said. The Samsung Video Call app will provide notifications on your phone that a friend has called while you are watching TV or get notified if something at home needs your attention, like light changes inside the house, detected sounds when you’re away. Users can connect with the house over a video call on the TV, whether it’s on or off.
Samsung said the service can also be used within the home as an intercom enabling sending voice alerts to other screens around the home. TV viewers will find a new embedded platform called “Chat Together” to take or place video calls using picture-in-picture while watching a TV program. This will allow users to easily communicate with people outside the home in real time.
Samsung said a app available on both Android and iOS allows users to quickly respond to both TV and mobile platforms using a single interface. The mobile app will let users communicate naturally and chat together using a Voice-to-Text feature on the remote. The user can turn on their mobile device, see a pop up on your screen, and click on “Join on the Pop Up” to have the Chat Together room engage.
The system will recommend relevant sets of chat messages and emojis depending on the type of on screen content, and can be viewed in either full screen mode on the right side of the screen or with the chat room hidden.
For 2023, Samsung will once again offer its “Lifestyle Portfolio” focused on blending high quality pictures and sound with the home decor. Samsung said the Portfolio has now evolved to include TVs designed around adding value based on different environments, outdoor, cinematic and go-anywhere displays.
“The Frame” TV series, which creates its own gallery, has continued to evolve for a more complete art experience when the TV picture is off and improved picture quality when it’s on. This year, The Art Store will have access to over 2500 pieces of art curated by top galleries around the world, to help Samsung TV owners customize their televisions to personal taste. This year’s The Art Store will feature a more user friendly on-screen experience, and Samsung will provide new options to personalize the frame around the screen with new metal bezels and more realistic wood finishes.
Samsung has added an option for an automatic rotating mount which allows for art presentations in landscape or portrait display modes.
In 2023, Samsung is also adding Gaming Hub, to its take-anywhere Freestyle projectors to help bring portable gaming along with you anywhere and access more than 1000 cloud games.
Also, starting with 2023 models, users will be able to blend together two Freestyle images from two projectors to create one huge 150-inch screen with a wider aspect ratio. Samsung is using its new edge-blending art technology so that when the first device receives an image, it sends half of the image signal to the second device. Then both the devices automatically keystone, adjusting the picture to the larger 21:9 aspect ratio for a more cinematic look, or 16:15 to stack a live stream on top of a game being played.
Samsung continues to evolve its versatile wall-size Micro-LED TV technology in 2023 with “the broadest premium line up…for every level of picture quality performance.”
Samsung said its pixel-level LED technology is “forged from sapphires for intense contrast and incredible detail.”
This year Samsung’s new 76-ing Micro LED CX will join its 110-inch version. Samsung said it has miniaturized technologies introduced in the display, its calls “The Wall, to create the world’s smallest and most affordable Micro LED screen.” The Micro LED CX is said to deliver a high brightness output and 20-bit black detail, 240Hz variable refresh rates and 2-nanosecond response time. The 76-inch model has a 99.9% screen-to-body ratio and is called “Samung’s first Micro LED TV that does not need professional installation.
8K In 2023
Samsung will introduce this year what it calls the world’s first Premiere 8K Ultra Short Throw projector that’s capable of displaying up to 150-inch 8K images on any screen or wall.
The Premiere 8K will automatically keystone-correct, level and focus the image, making it simple and easy to set up and immediately start watching a movie, sports event or video game. Gamers can split the 8K display into multiple 4K sections for multi-player games or split-screen entertainment with ultra sharp resolution.
The Premier 8K incorporates Samsung’s full smart TV platform in a ultra-short throw projector form factor. The unit is said to be able to seamlessly blend into any room, delivering movie theater screen entertainment from a projector placed only a few inches away from the wall.
In 2023, Samsung will offer the broadest premium TV lineup from Micro-LED to Neo QLED 8K and 4K Mini-LED TVs to new premium portfolio “Samsung OLED” TVs.
The flagship 2023 Neo QLED 8K Mini-LED series QN900C “represents the pinnacle of Samsung’s Infinity Design philosophy,” with an immersive frame design so thin that its edges are barely visible, the company said. It also includes hidden speakers capable of driving “cinematic surround sound.”
The QN900C 8K models are driven by Samsung’s Quantum Matrix Technology Ultimate, with 4,000 nits brightness and 14-bit contrast. At the same time, the 2023 8K flagship uses machine learning to optimize visuals, energy efficiency, and audio to enable features like 8K Real Depth Enhancer Pro. The 8K Real Depth Enhancer Pro improves contrast ratio by focusing the backlight on up to 1,000 local areas of the screen for clearer, more realistic depth perception.
The televisions bring what Samsung called “a dramatically improved lighting system” that enables the QLED (quantum dot) displays to match deep OLED blacks in dark rooms, enhancing dimming zones to prevent blooming across the screen.
Samsung said that because consumers don’t look at the entire area of the screen when watching TV– in favor of focusing attention on faces, objects, or the specific areas of the screen– the 8K Real Depth Enhancer Pro system uses AI to augment visuals solely in regions of demonstrated interest to viewers for clearer and more realistic depth perception.
In 2023, the Neo QLED 8K will choose from 64 different neural networks to deliver optimal upscaling — a threefold increase from the 20 neural networks used in the 2022 line. Thus, no matter the source, the system learns to enhance the way the image is perceived from a large database of video content ranging from low to high resolution and from poor to high quality videos.
“The neural networks then choose the most optimal network by looking at the incoming video input, and then process the upscaling accordingly. The end benefit is a pitcher with better texture, richer details, finer edges, and less noise for sound,” Samsung said.
The QN900C also features 8K Sound Remastering to match the clarity of the image with fidelity of the emitted surround sound. See more on this below.
In 2023, Samsung is implementing many different features that enhance the sound experience. The first is Object Tracking Sound Pro. The company said this adds powerful physical speakers to the TV, with support for Dolby Atmos for a more immersive and expansive sound experience.
Using all of the physical OTS Pro speakers, is said to produce a Dolby Atmos experience unavailable from other TVs.
Samsung’s exclusive Q Symphony system, which has been availabe the past few years, is said to produce perfect synergy between the TV and sound bar. For 2023, Q Symphony 30 will use AI to analyze and enhance the immersive sound more dynamically. The TV’s Neural Quantum processor analyzes the audio signal and extracts each individual sound object.
Voice signals are separated from background signals to deliver a realistically immersive sound experience, Samsung said. Many times, the sound from a TV isn’t exactly as the content creator intended because tracks are developed for cinemas in a mixing room.
Samsung said its new AI Remastering Sound uses AI to optimize sound to deliver the experience the creator intended for the cinema in the home. By analyzing content conditions in areas including volume and dialog, AI remasters the audio output to the home environment. The benefit is dialog, clarity, more immersive sound, and equalized loudness control.
Neo QLED 4K
For 2023, “the backbone of the TV portfolio” will continues to be the Samsung Neo QLED 4K assortment, the company said. Key features for 2023 include Quantum Matrix Technology Ultra that focuses on optimizing the pixel level visual quality of the Mini-LED display, quadrupling the number of dimming blocks to eliminate blooming.
As with the 8K series, the flagship 4K Neo QLED Mini-LED series — the QN95C — delivers strong Neo QLED audiovisual performance from a very thin panel form factor. New dimming technology and 14-bit processing are said to improve brightness and grayscale control to accurately render both luminance and extreme details across the whole screen. Further, an ultra-slim power board now “completely eliminates the QN95C’s need for an external connection box,” Samsung said, and optimizes energy efficiency, while shrinking the bezel to less than 20mm thick.
The QN95C series will include “an easily detachable, privacy-focused videoconferencing and workout-assisting camera, and integrates top-firing speakers to produce cinematic Dolby Atmos audio without requiring a soundbar.”
This year, all Neo QLED 4K TVs will use deep learning AI to analyze content to convert any content to brighter, clearer, and vibrant HDR – even if the source material is SDR, Samsung said.
Neo QLED 4K also utilizes 14-bit processing to enhance shading gradation without damaging or compressing blacks, enabling extreme details to be visible in every part of a scene, Samsung said.
In terms of sound, the 2023 Neo QLED 4K flagship is the first Mini-LED TV with true Dolby Atmos cinematic surround sound, integrating top firing speakers to reflect audio off the ceiling and to enable dynamic expression of on screen movement.
Neo QLED 4K will feature Samsung’s newly patented “Ultra Slim Powerboard” high efficiency semi-conductors and merged optical signal circuitry that achieve what the company calls “significant reductions in both the number and height of key components, keeping the TV shockingly thin while achieving superior energy efficiency.”
Because high dynamic range (HDR) content continues to remain rare for content like over-the-air broadcasts, cloud gaming, and even some streaming services, Samsung currently uses an algorithm to convert SDR to HDR. In 2023, Samsung is using AI to present images with HDR regardless of whether the content was encoded with HDR support or not.
Samsung said its AI algorithms compare SDR content with HDR content and use deep learning to analyze what the differences are between the two. The processor is then able to take any content and “convert it to HDR flawlessly,” Samsung said. This results in brighter highlights, clearer details and more vibrant colors, even if the source material is SDR.
Hybrid Quantum OLED
Meanwhile, the second generation of Samsung’s hybrid Quantum Dot/OLED TVs will also feature new premium options for 2023. The S95C Samsung OLED 4K TV series is said to deliver unparalleled visual precision and speed to Samsung’s OLED innovation. Combined quantum dot and OLED technologies allow individually self-lit pixels that are unobstructed by the TFT layer, increasing brightness and color accuracy.
Samsung’s custom-designed Neural Quantum Processor 4K enables Samsung OLED to deliver high peak OLED brightness, vivid color mapping and smart 4K upscaling with AI detail restoration. And with a 0.1- millisecond response time and up to 144Hz refresh rate, S95C models eliminate on-screen blurring as images fade rather than completely disappearing. Samsung’s Neural Quantum Processor 4K uses 20 neural networks to optimize detail, colors and brightness across the screen, Samsung said.
The OLED series also offers calibration and visualization options not found on other televisions.
The S95C’s supports cloud gaming with Gaming Hub, and includes “the world’s first 4K support for NVIDIA GeForce NOW” and access to cloud gaming services including Microsoft Xbox, Utomik, and Amazon Luna.
Samsung said the new OLEDs “can display even the fastest moving 4K games through the Gaming Hub platform.” Despite this very high frame rate, “pantone and pantone skin tone validated colors render images as the developers intended, according to the company.
The Samsung Quantum OLED TV measures less than a half inch thick, but still produces what the company considers to be “incredible sound quality” from its 70-Watt 4.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos top speakers.
A custom designed processor enables Samsung OLEDs to produce its high brightness, vivid color mapping and smart 4K upscaling with AI detail restoration.
Samsung’s OLED Brightness Booster, will enable brighter and darker areas of an image to be optimized on a pixel level with a 144 Hz variable refresh rate (VRR).
New Samsung OLEDs also feature Quantum HDR OLED, which is powered by the OLED Brightness Booster, to brighten the picture to a maximum level of contrast. Peak brightness levels are maintained with shadow detail through AI deep learning. The processor detects which areas need to be brighter and which need to be darker and then fine tunes contrast at a pixel level, Samsung said.
The 2023 Samsung OLEDs will also incorporate all the sound features of the Neo QLED 8K and 4K lineups, including Dolby Atmos Object Tracking sound and Q Symphony.
2023 Sound Bars
New in Samsung sound bars this year will be models with more output power to create an even more immersive home audio experience that is easy to setup and use.
Samsung TV remotes are designed to pair effortlessly with Samsung’s new sound bars and can control all of the imporanat features from one unified remote control.
Remotes no longer need to be programmed and Samsung’s TV sound bars will pair acoustically only once. During the initial setup, users tell the TV to play back from both the TV and sound bar, and the system will automatically configure the speakers on the TV and the soundbar for the necessary channels with a fuller, more immersive and personalized sound.
The signal processing for Samsung Q Symphony technology will coordinate audio through both a TV and sound bar based on the content played.
Samsung will continue to offer its popular Ultra Slim lifestyle centric audio line that was designed to pair visually and audibly with the Samsung premium TV lineup.
For 2023, the premium Q series sound bars continue to evolve Q Symphony technology experience with enhanced performance and improved calibration to the home listening environment.
This year, Q Symphony will use every speaker on the TV in conjunction with the soundbar for greater immersion, Samsung said. New Samsung TVs and sound bars will work together to drive more sound and feature benefits. Using the TV’s processor, the technology will analyze content so that dialog is kept distinctly in the center channel while the surrounding audio is sent to the TV speakers. This is said to produce clearer, crisper, 3D surround sound keeping the listener in the center of the action.
Samsung’s SpaceFit technology then analyzes the listening environment and calibrates the output for optimized audio immersion, the company said.
In 2023, the adaptive sound capability will automatically adjust the sound to a desired volume level for clearer, crisper playback, without disturbing others in the house.
The Q series sound bars will also include enhanced Game Pro Mode that lets users customize the sound effects for the genre of game that’s played.
In 2023, Samsung premium TVs and sound bars have been designed to pair acoustically automatically, with the system automatically configuring the sound bar and TV speakers for an optimal surround sound experience, the company said.
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Using the TV’s powerful processor, content and room acoustics are analyzed so that dialog is clearly produced by the sound bar while surrounding audio plays through the TV speakers. Samsung said this will produce more crisp and clear 3D surround sound experiences.
At the same time, the SpaceFit feature will analyze and calibrate the sound to the listening environment for greater audio immersion.
The 2023 Samsung HW-G60C premium sound bar will offer a compact, all-in-one audio experience that uses hybrid beam-forming technology and virtual Dolby Atmos to create a 3D soundscape from an easily placed compact housing.
Combined with echo-canceling microphones and ambient lighting, the HW-G60C enables bi-directional audio, serving as both a computer speaker and a tool for interacting with virtual assistants and smart IoT devices.
It connects to HDMI/ARC, USB, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast devices for wired and wireless audio.
Customizable LED lighting and adaptive sound profiles enable gaming with unique looks and sound from any computer. The HW-G60C integrates four microphones that isolate and amplify users’ voices for virtual assistant functionality and in-game chat, removing environmental noise to further isolate the user’s voice for voice controls. Users can also access multilingual voice assistants when needed.
HW-Q990C sound bar is billed as Samsung’s most capable model to date. It delivers 11.1.4-channel surround sound and synchronizes with speakers and neural processor chips for unprecedented multi-channel performance.
HW-Q990C uses Q- Symphony 3.0 to isolate and precisely direct individual audio elements using both soundbar and TV speakers. It has a rear speaker, and subwoofer set using AI and second-generation, room-analyzing Spacefit to automatically optimize individual driver frequencies and gain to match any space. It also supports voice control and can be controlled via Wi-Fi or the SmartThings app. The built-in SmartThings IoT hub module enables voice connectivity and provides the ability to control the soundbar straight from the Samsung SmartThings app.
HW-Q990C, which will ship later at a price to be announced, will identify and isolate background noise while enhancing dialog, or adjusting to low-volume nighttime listening needs, providing a premium, sonically optimized experience. Adaptive Sound 2.0 offers clear sound using AI sound- optimization technology, while Game Pro 2.0 provides a sound field mode suitable for the game’s genre.
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By Greg Tarr
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