At CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Samsung Electronics Canada has announced its latest 8K TV, and highlighted developments in several video technologies.
The product line-up is led by a new 98-inch QLED 8K TV, Samsung's largest so far. It will join 65-, 75-, 82 and 85-inch models. The line features Samsung's 8K Quantum Processor chip, supporting "AI-based" upscaling technology for any content.
Additionally, Samsung announced that its new 2019 TVs in more than 100 countries will offer iTunes Movies and TV Shows, as well as Apple AirPlay 2 support and a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app. These features will be added to 2018 Smart TVs in a firmware update.
Samsung's Bixby intelligent-assistant platform will also be built into its 2019 QLED and premium TVs, and incorporated in other smart devices, including air conditioners and speakers. The company adds that Bixby will be expanding to a new Digital Cockpit, and to robotics platforms. It notes that Uber, Ticketmaster and services are now using Bixby, and that iHeartRadio has joined as a new partner.
Samsung states that a new core "AI philosophy" will guide its future work in development of smart devices, based on core principles of Fairness, Accountability and Transparency. Samsung asserts that it is "committed to ensuring the algorithms it builds are inclusive, the protection of user information and privacy are top priorities, and it's easy for consumers to understand what the company does with their data and how it is handled."
Supporting its TV efforts, Samsung has unveiled an expansion of its HDR10 ecosystem, aimed at bringing "more true-to-life picture quality content" to Canadian viewers, and to "expand the impact of HDR10 technology" across different market segments. This "next-generation standard technology for picture processing," is designed to optimize brightness levels and contrast for every scene, and deliver "vivid and reality-like colors," for a "lifelike viewing experience."
The HDR10 certification and logo program was launched by Samsung Electronics last June, in partnership with Panasonic and 20th Century Fox. This year, Samsung reports that 45 industry partners have been added, ranging from online content services to semiconductor makers.
Samsung notes that Amazon Prime Video was the first streaming service to deliver all its UHD content in HDR10 , starting in 2017. Last October, Amazon integrated HDR10 support into its Fire TV Stick 4K. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has been another strong adopter, creating over 70 HDR10 titles so far, with plans to have over 100 titles available this year.
In Europe, streaming service Rakuten TV will begin offering HDR10 content in the first half of this year. MEGOGO, a major Eastern-European service, is planning to release HDR10 content. ARSPRO, based in Moscow, has implemented HDR10 , including use of dynamic metadata, and begun remastering some of its series. In December, the largest Russian OTT/VOD service, ivi, presented five European series in HDR10 .
Samsung adds that Qualcomm, a member of the HDR10 alliance, has recently announced that HDR10 will be supported in its new Snapdragon 855 chipset. ARM, designer of the dominant mobile processor architecture, is also said to be joining the HDR10 network.
In addition, Samsung says it plans to build a new national HDR10 testing and inspection center for the consumer electronics industry in China. Similar centers have been operating in Korea, Japan and the US since last year.
A new feature on Samsung's Smart TVs this year is Remote Access, which provides enhanced wireless connectivity with PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Samsung notes that Remote Access will allow connection of input devices such as mice and keyboards, for control of on-screen content. It can further allow these input devices to control other wirelessly-connected devices, and display their content. For example, a user could remotely access their PC, to surf the Web, play games or browse work documents.
"We are excited to introduce Remote Access and to provide Canadians with easy access to various programs, apps and cloud services installed on multiple connected devices, directly through their TV screen," said Pat Bugos, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Home Entertainment, Samsung Canada. "In collaboration with our partners, we seek to expand the compatibility of Remote Access and provide more services to our users."
Remote Access is supported by VMware Horizon software, a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) developed in partnership with VMware. Samsung notes that its Knox security technology is also integrated, and supported by regular firmware updates. It adds that Knox has been certified by Common Criteria every year since 2015, for its security performance.
Perhaps the most futuristic technology at the Samsung First Look event at the Aria Resort & Casino was Samsung's Micro LED technology, winner of the 2019 CES Best of Innovation award. Micro LED devices featured at the event included a new 75-inch display, a 219-inch version of The Wall, and displays in various other shapes, sizes and configurations.
A 146-inch version of The Wall was previously shown at CES 2018. This year, This year, Samsung reports that advancements in its ultra-fine pitch semiconductor packaging process have allowed it to reduce the spacing between chips, and create a more consumer-friendly 75-inch 4K Micro LED display.
"Samsung Micro LED technology represents endless possibilities for display innovation," said Mary Peterson, Vice President, IT & Enterprise Solutions, Samsung Canada. "Our Micro LED technology marks the beginning of the next screen revolution, providing intelligent, customizable displays that deliver the premium performance Canadians expect from their Samsung displays."
Samsung's technology allows displays to be made up of multiple Micro LED modules, each comprised of millions of microscopic inorganic red, green and blue LED chips. By combining these modules, users can create a display of almost any size they desire, and create irregular screen sizes to suit their own needs.
Samsung notes that Micro LED can not only support 16:9 or 21:9 widescreen movies, but also unconventional aspect ratios such as 32:9, or 1:1, without compromising picture quality. Since Micro LED modules are bezel-free, no borders between modules are visible. Samsung's new Ambient Mode shows off the technology, letting the screen show imagery blends in with its surroundings.
Samsung's displays can be seen in Booth #15006 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Image: Samsung's 219-inch The Wall Micro LED display.