Samsung Reveals 2021 NEO QLED MiniLED 4K, 8K LCD TVs
Samsung officially introduced its new Mini LED technology in lines of “NEO QLED” 8K and 4K LCD televisions for 2021 and introduced two additional screen sizes in its recently announced one-piece out-of-the-box MicroLED television series.
Joining the previously announced 110-inch Micro LED model will be models based on the technology measuring 88-inches and 99-inches, Samsung said. All will be shipping later in 2021 at pricing to be announced, but they’re expected to be steep.
Meanwhile, Samsung announced plans to market several series of LCD TVs based on MiniLED backlight technology. Samsung will introduce the technology in a pair of 8K and 4K Ultra HD Neo QLED series — the QN900A, QN800A and QN90A and QN85A. The flagship 4K QLED Series QN90A, to be announced later, will have an advanced performance and feature approach as part of the 4K NEO QLED series, according to Dan Schinasi, Samsung Electronics America CE product planning planning director.
All will use full-array Mini LED technology that uses significantly smaller LEDs and a new light dispersion system enabling denser LED arrangement as full-array backlights. This affords more localized dimming control of individual nano-sized LEDs for more focused, precise luminance levels with both brighter images and purer black with reduced blooming and haloing compared to other LCD technologies.
The technology’s performance is closer in appearance to self-emissive display technologies than other backlight approaches.
The Neo QLED sets employ a Quantum Processor that uses artificial intelligence to optimize upscaled video for presentation on 8K screens through a system Samsung calls Multi-Intelligence AI Upscaling. This processing also adjusts sound to correspond to onscreen object movement, through a technology Samsung calls Virtual Object Tracking Sound. This also tailors audio to the dynamics of the room using Samsung’s Space Fit Sound technology.
The sets are said to have a new immersive near bezel-less (0.9 mm thin) Black Matrix design for a more immersive viewing experience.
In other announcements, Samsung introduced a refreshed Lifestyle TV tier including an upgraded line of “The Frame” QLED TVs. The 2021 versions build on The Frame picture-frame concept, offering a more customizable experience in a slimmer form factor, Samsung said.
The Frame TV panel measures 24.9 mm, which is thinner than ever, mirroring the depth of a traditional picture frame. For the first time, with the 43-inch model, users will be able to rotate the orientation to either landscape or portrait styles. In addition, built-in AI-based auto-curation technology better analyzes user preferences to recommend artwork—with over 1,400 works available through a paid subscription to Samsung’s Art Store and new partnerships with museums and artists.
Samsung is also offering new accessory bezel options for new Frame Models. These include a variety of options available from third-party companies to help users literally “frame The Frame,” Samsung said. Set owners will have more bezel choices than ever.
All of Samsung’s 2021 QLED TVs will be equipped with HDMI inputs supporting the new HDMI 2.1 features, including eARC, ALLM, VRR and HFR, supporting some of the latest enhanced gaming features, Samsung said.
As for the new MicroLED TV models, Samsung is hoping the new more easily shipped and set-up out-of-the-box offerings are the next step on the road to eventually opening the market up to a wider range of consumers. Previously introduced versions of the company’s “The Wall” modular-based customizable large screen displays have been sold primarily for commercial market applications, or very-well-to-do custom-installed home installations.
At least for now, however, pricing on the new models is still expected to be very high. The new models have a 99.99% screen-to-body ratio, bezel-less design and an embedded 5.1-channel sound system (called the “Majestic Sound System”). This leverages internal and optional external speakers to surround audiences. The internal speakers employ Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Pro that manipulates sounds to seem to follow objects moving on screen.
Samsung first introduced MicroLED displays in 2018, known as The Wall. That approach to the technology consisted of modular panels that were fitted together to form larger screen sizes and configurations, but this year the technology is available in a more traditional one-piece TV form factor that requires no professional assembly.
MicroLED is a display technology with self-emitting light (like OLED and plasma TVs), enabling high brightness and the deep black reproduction for the most lifelike images. Samsung said the technology allows a 20-bit Active Matrix glass backplane, and a MicroLED processor. The screen will have a 99.99% screen to body ratio.
The MicroLEDs also employ a Multi View feature that lets viewers watch four different content sources at the same time on the big screens. In the 110″ model that’s four 55-inch equivalent split screens. The Samsung ambient mode in the sets enables the MicroLED screens to blend in with the surroundings in the room when not being used to watch video.
Samsung also announced a new The Wall IW customizable MicroLED series, offering up to 8K resolution with pure blacks and vibrant colors. The technology is now available in pixel pitches of 1.2/1.6 and allows extending the panel by hundreds of inches while maintaining strong brightness, optimal viewing angles, and wide color volume. The Wall concept’s modularity allows customized screen sizes, Samsung said.
In addition to “screening room”-style spaces, The Wall can be custom-installed in homes to fit the preferred mood and style of the space, Samsung said. The Wall IW setups are equipped with two display options, Entertainment Mode for watching video and Ambient Mode that leverages the screen to better match the decor. Users can adapt the display to changing needs while blending into luxury settings.
In related TV news, Samsung announced new apps and services to enhance the viewing experience. This includes Google Duo / Screen Mirroring that enables using a smartphone to initiate a high-quality, high-speed video call that up to 12 people can join, regardless of the operating system used. To initiate this, users tap Duo to engage video calling in Full HD quality. Screen mirroring allows making video calls with Google Duo directly through a TV’s optional camera, that will be available to add on from Logitech and others.
Another feature called Remote Access Plus available on Samsung devices allows users to connect various devices to Smart TVs to surf the web or play games on the big screen using a connected mouse, keyboard, and PC. For working at home, the TVs can also directly access MS Office 365 through the TV’s web browser. This year, an app installed on a computer can log into a Samsung Account to automatically connect with the TV.
Another feature called Multi-View built into all Samsung QLED TVs enables enjoying favorite content from multiple sources all at once on the TV. This includes cable channels, streaming platform apps, video games from consoles and video streamed from wireless devices. When it launched in last year, Multi-View could display up to two views. This has been expanded via the new Quantum Processor 8K to up to twelve simultaneous sources.
A Samsung Health Smart Trainer is available on new Samsung smart TVs help turn the home into a personal gym. The Smart Trainer displays an AI trainer on the left screen, and via an optional add-on camera, an image of the user on the right screen. The system will allow users to check their posture, count reps, and and receive real-time feedback on performance. The AI trainer remembers a users preferred exercises, including workout type and intensity. Users will receive feedback on calories burned and other metrics. A new auto-sync feature links select Samsung Smart TVs, Galaxy phones, and Galaxy watches, so that users can pick a workout on a phone and cast it to a TV, while automatically tracking a users progress.
New Super Ultrawide Gameview / Game Bar brings advanced gaming features to television. Gamers will have access to ultra-wide aspect ratios for Super Ultra-wide Gameview supported PC games to gain a wider field of view, without missing any action. Games will have the option to play games in a widescreen aspect ratios including 21:9 up to 32:9. The Game Bar lets players quickly monitor and adjust playing and tools including switching aspect ratios, checking input lag, and connecting a headset.
In TV related news, Samsung introduced new 2021 Soundbars with enhanced flexibility including the ability to add additional bass, via a Bass Boost mode that quickly adds 2dB, and easy music listening from a mobile device using Tap Sound mode. Users need to simply tap a mobile device on the soundbar to connect music without having to adjust settings or make manual conntions. In addition, select Samsung 2021 soundbars will support Amazon Alexa via the soundbars’ built-in microphones. The SmartThings system in the soundbar enables using Alexa to do everything from ordering groceries to adjusting the thermostat.
Samsung also announced a few eco-friendly advancements including new Samsung Eco Remote Controls designed to reduce waste. The remotes feature an energy-efficient circuit design and solar cells that recharge batteries, for up to two years. The remotes, which are included with evert 2021 Samsung QLED 4K and 8K TV, is made from 31 grams of plastic, with 28% coming from recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to help keep remotes out of the waste stream. The Samsung’s offer premium black metallic finishes.
Samsung 2021 QLED 4K and 8K TVs and Lifestyle TVs also feature new Eco-environmental packaging designed with a new approach for recycling, the company said. Cardboard cartons eliminate oil-based ink and offer a sustainable solution that can up-cycle up to 200,000 tons of boxes a year and turn them into pieces of home decor. By scanning the QR code on the packaging, users can access materials and instructions online. Samsung partnered with Dezeen Magazine to crowdsource designs to turn packaging into household storage solutions and toys for kids.
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By Greg Tarr
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