It’s not every day you get to witness the future of television (hyperbole warranted), but on an otherwise unassuming Tuesday night I did just that, coming face-to-face with Samsung’s first-to-market QLED 8K television offering.
Drink in hand (there are always drinks at these things), Samsung New Zealand’s Head of Consumer Electronics, Jen Anders at said that the launch of the 8K range, “signals the beginning of the next generation of home entertainment.”
We all want bigger TVs. Last year around two thirds of people who bought a TV went for one that was larger than 55 inches.
With larger screens comes the need for technology that can deliver a flawless picture at larger sizes. So does Samsung deliver the goods? Absolutely!
On their 82-inch Q900 QLED TV I witnessed specially shot footage that was nothing short of stunning, whether sitting a few metres back or peering at it a couple centimeters from the screen. The sharpness, detail, and picture quality are unmatched. It was quite something.
In fact, the 8K resolution features four times more pixels than a 4K UHD TV and 16 times more pixels than a full HD TV. Damn.
For those looking for a slightly more detail-heavy analysis, Anders has you covered.
“To put that in perspective 8K resolution equates to 7,680 × 4,320, or 33,117,600 pixels to be exact, instead of 3,840 × 2,160 which is 8,294,400 pixels for 4K. To easily visualise it, imagine four 4K TVs placed in a four-by-four grid.”
In laymen’s terms – it’s good. Very good.
The QLED 8K, mindful of the impact that lighting conditions can have on a viewing experience (glare anyone), have integrated HDR10+ and Ultra Bright III to manage the TV’s contrast and colour. Brightness levels are optimised to help ensure that the TV performs consistently in almost any lighting conditions while HDR10+ also minimises the impact of glare and reflection in New Zealand’s many sun-filled rooms.
Another talking points were the addition of AI Upscaling which uses dynamic machine learning to enhance displays, while Direct Full Array Elite technology improves contrast and precisely controls backlighting.
Elephant in the room – there is next to no native 8K content available at the moment (you could always use the ‘planing for the future’ excuse to justify the purchase), though the 8K Quantum Processor does recognise and calibrate lower-resolution sources, such as from a streaming cast, improving the image quality noticeably.
If you’re worried about a massive 82 inch slab of black dominating your living room while sitting idle, never fear Samsung thought of that too with their Ambient Mode displaying art, photos, useful info, or even blending into the background decor by mirroring your room aesthetic.
I currently watch TV on a rather large (or so I thought) Sony, and the one thing I hate more than anything about it is their awful OS and annoying remote. Predictably, Samsung have thought of that too.
Samsung’s One Remote ensures quick and convenient access to compatible devices and services including Netflix, YouTube, Xbox and compatible soundbars.
Each model also comes equipped with smart capabilities for Samsung’s ‘Smart Things’ and ‘Bixby’ as well as integration with voicerecognition based platforms Amazon ‘Alexa’ and ‘Google Assistant’, so users can turn their TV on or off, or control volume via simple voice commands. The new line-up will also support the soon to be launched Apple TV and Apple AirPlay 2.
The 2019 range will also be the first in the country to have the new Spark Sport Smart TV app in-built, giving Kiwis the latest sports streaming service directly through a bespoke app on their TV. Just in time for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Nice.
So how much of a dent are these TVs going to make in your wallet? The prices are as follows:
- 82” $19,999.95
- 75” $15,999.95
- 65” $10,999.95
Quite the dent. But for the tech-heads, early-adopters, well-off, or TV-obsessed amongs us – Samsung’s 8K range absolutely delivers and is a must-buy.