Samsung Unveils New Features for QLED TVs & More

Samsung staged a First Look event at the American Stock Exchange building in New York City yesterday to introduce new, forward-looking features for its flagship QLED 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) TVs and showcase its 2018 lineup of home entertainment products, most of which will be available this month.

Front and center were two models previewed in January at CES 2018: The top-of-the-line Q9F QLED 4K TV, featuring a full-array local dimming backlight, and its state-of-the-art sibling, the Q9S 8K set, which uses proprietary AI (artificial intelligence) scaling to produce stunning 8K images from 4K, 1080p, and even standard-definition content. The processing improves scaling over previous systems by comparing images to a database of “reference” content that’s loaded into the TV and constantly updated.

Several new features for the QLED TV series were introduced, including a unique “ambient mode” that plays music and displays news headlines (through a partnership with The New York Times), traffic reports, weather updates, and other useful information throughout the day when the TV is “turned off.” The mode also has a décor-matching setting for wall-mounted TVs that replicates the pattern on the wall behind the TV to create a visual effect that makes it appear to blend into the wall. This trick is accomplished via a photo the user takes of the TV against whatever background is on the wall; the TV then fills the screen with a replica of the wall so that only the frame is noticeable.

The new 2018 QLED TVs also boast what Samsung calls One Invisible Connection, a slim cable up to 50-feet long that carries both power and AV data to the TV to allow for more flexible placement. The connector is available on TVs above the Q7, except for the Q8F.

Several updated smart TV capabilities — including Samsung’s voice-based virtual assistant Bixby, a new SmartThings app, and a new intuitive Universal Guide — are designed to make it easier to set up a QLED TV and navigate across streaming services and live TV to find content.

Samsung also announced The Wall, a massive 146-inch (diagonal) modular MicroLED TV shown in prototype form at CES 2018, will ship in August. The self-emitting TV uses tiny micrometer-scale LEDs.

New Audio Options
Samsung used the occasion to unveil three new soundbars and a new wireless speaker.

The HW-N950 soundbar supports Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround sound with up-firing and side-firing drivers, while the HW-N650 targets gamers with Acoustic Beam Technology designed to put players in the middle of the action. The HW-NW700 is a wall-mountable sidebar designed to complement Samsung’s QLED TVs and the VL550 speaker comes with a wireless voice-control module/volume dial that attaches to any metallic surface so you can control the speaker with voice commands or by simply turning the dial.

For more information and pricing on Samsung’s new TV and audio products, visit