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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Samsung's 2017 QLED Ultra HD TVs Are Brighter and More Colorful, Even from the Sides

Two years ago, Samsung set its highest performance televisions apart with the letter, "S." "S-UHD" was the Samsung moniker for their brightest, sexiest and highest perfoming LED/LCD TVs. This year they've taken two steps backward - in the alphabet that is. 2017 is the year of the "Q."

The Q stands for "Quantum" as in Quantum Dots: the technology behind Samsung's color reproduction system, used in their high-end LED/LCD televisions. The full brand name of the category is QLED - Quantum dot Light Emitting Diode. Fundamentally, these are still LCD TVs, but they used LED backlighting, enhanced with Quantum Dots, to mitigate some of the traditional weaknesses of LCD TVs.

Quantum Dot technology is what allows Samsung TVs to reproduce colors extremely accurately on their TVs. Microscopic quantum dot particles are embedded into a film that sits between the set's backlight unit and LCD panel. This film allows the blue LED backlights to combine with green and red quantum dot particles to create a pure (and bright) white backlight. The LCD panel itself has red, green and blue color filters that combine the three primary colors to create an accurate - and very wide - range of colors. According to published specs, Samsung QLED sets can attain 100% of the DCI-P3 color standard, which is quite an achievement.

Samsung's enhancements for 2017 are said to improve their TVs' peak brightness, color saturation and color volume. At a briefing at the company headquarters in NJ last month, Samsung reps told us that off-axis viewing has been improved dramatically this year, allowing even those off to the sides of the room to see a brght colorful picture without excessive dimming or color shift. And to improve the sets' contrast ratios (which is essential for High Dynamic Range support), the new sets are said to be able to reach peak brightness levels of 1,500 to 2,000 nits. This is more than twice the peak brightness of LG's current top of the line OLED sets.

"2017 will mark a major paradigm shift in the visual display industry, ushering in the era of QLED," said HyunSuk Kim, President of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. "With the advent of QLED TV, we provide the most true-to-life picture on screen. We have been successful in solving for past inconsistencies in the viewing experience and consumer pain points while redefining the fundamental value of TV."

The QLED TV line-up includes three series: the Q7 (includes both flat and curved models), the Q8 (curved screens only) and the flagship Q9 (flat) series. Pricing, exact availability dates and complete range of screen sizes has not yet been announced. We expect these to be toward the higher end of price range of premium large screen TVs.
Wall Mount, Re-imagined

The QLED TVs also include a clever wall-mounting scheme which actually recesses the wall mount bracket into the back of the TV itself. This allows the TV to sit right up against the wall with almost no gap. A wall-mount bracket is included with each set. The brackets are made even cooler by the fact that you don't even need a level to mount them. You do have to find the studs of course (well, if you want your expensive new flat panel to stay on the wall and not come crashing down), but if you're not quite level with the mount, don't worry about it. The set can be adjusted to be level *after* the bracket is installed, and then locked into place for perfect placement. You can see a video of this in action from our friends over at Techlicious.

And to make the mount even simpler, all of the connections (cable, HDMI, etc.) go to a separate OneConnect box which is connected to the TV via a super-thin (and paintable) optical cable. So the only wires needed are power and the optical cable. Everything else can be tucked away in a cabinet or closet.

"With the QLED TV, we've solved problems that everyone - and every home - has experienced; cable clutter, thick wall mounts and a slew of devices sitting right under the TV," said Dave Das, Senior Vice President of Consumer Electronics Marketing for Samsung Electronics America. "With our 2017 lineup, the focus remains where it should be-the content on the screen - not everything surrounding it."

Samsung's QLED TVs are on display this week in Las Vegas at CES 2017.

More TV and Technology News from CES and Beyond:

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