Samsung Electronics Unveils 2020 QLED 8K TV Lineup, New AI Capabilities at CES

Samsung Electronics Jan. 5 introduced its QLED 8K line on the eve of CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The lineup features AI-based innovations that make the viewing experience more immersive, and connected features that make consumer lifestyles more integrated, according to Samsung.

The 8K lineup leverages the power of machine learning to optimize audio, video and smart capabilities, and it offers a range of smart features powered by Tizen, so consumers can more easily interact with their home and mobile devices, and access new features such as Samsung Health.

“2020 will be a tipping point for our industry, the year when 8K broke into the mainstream as the definitive viewing experience,” said Joe Stinziano, head of the consumer electronics business at Samsung Electronics America. “Our 2020 8K lineup delivers that experience. Its unprecedented immersive capabilities and unparalleled smart features empower consumers to pursue their passions more simply and more comprehensively than ever before.”

Every Samsung 8K TV shipping today meets the requirements of the 8K Association’s Certified Test Specifications and carries the CTA 8K Ultra HD Display Definition logo, according to Samsung.

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This year, consumers will also be able to enjoy and stream AV1 codec videos filmed in 8K on QLED 8K TVs. All Samsung TVs in the 2020 8K line will ship with this capability built-in. And, Samsung is working with partners like YouTube to create pathways for streaming native 8K content.

In addition to building out the 8K ecosystem across the industry, the QLED 8K lineup helps consumers to experience the power of 8K resolution even when they’re watching lower resolution content.

Based on powerful Samsung semiconductor technology, the Q950’s next-generation Quantum Processor 8K features improved AI-based upscaling capabilities that use machine learning to analyze and identify the characteristics of individual pixels. It then restores different elements of the image to create a pristine 8K picture, regardless of the content source.

The Q950 also leverages the power of AI to ensure that nothing distracts viewers from their content. While other TV sensors can only adjust screen brightness based on the ambient light within the room, Adaptive Picture analyzes the brightness of the room, as well as the scene being played on the screen, to optimize brightness and maintain contrast in high-glare environments.

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Addressing the speed of the internet connection, AI ScaleNet uses cutting-edge compression to significantly cut the amount of bandwidth needed to stream content. This helps consumers enjoy a higher quality image, and a smoother streaming experience, even if they have a slower internet connection, according to Samsung. Samsung Electronics continues to work with Amazon on this feature, utilizing AI ScaleNet from standard definition to 4K in Prime Video.

On the audio side, the Q950 features speakers on every side of the display, as well as woofers in the back to deliver virtual 5.1 channel surround-sound. Samsung takes this hardware to the next level, with sound features that further enhance sound immersion. If consumers are watching a movie that hasn’t been mixed for three-dimensional sound, the audio won’t track with the movement onscreen. Object Tracking Sound+ solves this problem by detecting the movement of objects on the screen and adjusting the audio accordingly. Also, with Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), the Q950 can enhance voice clarity in response to ambient noise like a blender or vacuum cleaner. Finally, Q-Symphony creates a more dynamic soundscape by pairing the Q950’s speaker with the audio of a Samsung Q series soundbar, including the 2020 CES Best of Innovation honoree, the Q800.

In 2020, Bixby, Samsung’s AI assistant, is getting even smarter, through a new ability that leverages Ambient Mode to change the mood of a room. For example, if they tell Bixby to create a calm atmosphere, the TV will then display a relaxing backdrop on the screen. In addition, Samsung will be integrating Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant directly into its premium lineup of 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, including the Q950.

The Q950 features a new and improved Universal Guide that uses AI-based algorithms to analyze the type of content that consumers watch, as well as the services and TV channels that they tend to use, to offer recommendations uniquely customized to their specific habits and tastes.

With the launch of Samsung Health on TV later this year, consumers can enjoy a fitness and wellness solution that allows them to see their activities, track their progress, and pursue shared fitness goals with the entire family. Plus, they will have access to free and exclusive content from leading partners, including Calm, FitPlan, Jillian Michaels, Echelon, Obe Fitness, and Barre 3 and more.

Other features include Multi-View, which helps consumers to simultaneously enjoy content on their mobile devices and their TVs, by mirroring the phone screen onto the TV screen even while it is playing TV content, and Tap View, which allows consumers to mirror their phone screens by touching their mobile device to the TV. Finally, Digital Butler brings together both connected and non-connected devices in one dashboard. It uses infrared technology so that consumers can manage legacy devices near the TV.

LG to Bow Expanded 8K TV Lineup at CES

LG Electronics will introduce its expanded 8K TV lineup next week at CES 2020 — eight TVs with new 77- and 65-inch class models joining LG’s existing 88- and 75-inch screen sizes.

The 2020 lineup includes premium 88- and 77-inch class LG Signature OLED 8K TVs (models 88/77 OLED ZX) and advanced LG NanoCell TVs (models 75/65 Nano99, 75/65 Nano97, 75/65 Nano95). Every model exceeds the industry’s official new 8K Ultra HD definition set by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), according to LG.

LG 8K TVs deliver “Real 8K,” according to the company, and they are future-proofed, supporting the widest selection of 8K content sources from HDMI and USB digital inputs, including codecs such as HEVC, VP9 and AV1, the latter being backed by major streaming providers including YouTube. LG’s 8K TVs will support 8K content streaming at a rapid 60FPS and are certified to deliver 8K 60P over HDMI.

LG’s latest 8K TVs also feature α (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor. By leveraging deep learning technology, the 2020 lineup delivers optimized picture and sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling. Based on an intelligent deep learning network, AI 8K Upscaling delivers vivid and accurate 8K images by analyzing the content and applying Quad Step Noise Reduction and frequency-based Sharpness Enhancer to increase lower resolution content to near 8K, according to LG.

The α9 Gen 3 processor’s AI Picture Pro is capable of recognizing faces and text on screen, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce more natural skin tones, well-defined facial features and clearer, more readable characters, according to LG. In addition, its Auto Genre Selection recognizes the type of content being watched and automatically applies the ideal picture settings, guaranteeing the best image quality among four genres: movie, sports, standard and animation.

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LG’s AI Sound Pro analyzes and classifies the audio of content among five categories — music, movies, sports, drama or news — for clearer voices and richer, more textured background sound. Spoken words are isolated and their volume increased, making it distinctively easier for viewers to understand while background noises are identified and the scene up-mixed to virtual 5.1 surround for a heightened level of viewer immersion.

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LG 8K TVs offer a new level of convenience made possible by AI technology, according to LG. Users can monitor and control compatible IoT devices directly from the TV’s Home Dashboard, while Hands-Free Voice Control allows viewers to easily control multiple connected devices with just their voice, even from across the room. Available in 144 countries, ThinQ voice recognition is built into every LG 8K TV. And with LG’s popular smart TV platform, webOS, the new TVs support Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit as well as both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice compatibility in the future.

Sharp to Showcase 120-Inch 8K, 5G Televison

South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer Sharp has been carrying the 8K resolution TV banner since 2011.

So, it’s little surprise the company plans to showcase a 120-inch 8K TV screen with 5G network compatibility at the upcoming IFA confab in Berlin.

8K resolution claims to offer 16 times the pixels of HD and four times the pixels of 4K.

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“Since our launch of the world’s first-ever 8K display, Sharp has continued to develop 8K products in the [business to consumer] realm, but thanks to advances in communication and imaging technology, we are now also able to offer fresh value in the field of [business-to-business],” Kazuhiro Kitamura, business unit president, global TV systems and head of Europe business, said in a statement.

Kitamura said Sharp is partnering with other companies to run verification tests in various fields to perfect the 8K, 5G TV.

“By working in tandem with other firms’ technology, rather than promoting our own 8K offerings in isolation, we are able to foster breakthroughs and nurture 8K+5G Ecosystem across an ever-wider range of disciplines,” he said. “The more partners we can bring on board with groundbreaking technological advances of their own, the more we can achieve together to enrich society and people’s lives.”

Big plans considering the 8K TV market remains a curiosity among consumers.

According to Statista, 8K TV will have about 3% of the UHD TV market by 2023. 8K unit sales are projected to reach 11 million annually, up from 400,000 units this year.

TCL, Roku Partnering for Branded 8K Televisions

Roku and TCL Corp. Jan. 7 announced that they plan to release branded 8K TCL Roku TVs in late 2019. TCL will incorporate its latest Gen 11 LCD panel factory with Roku’s 8K hardware reference design. Additionally, Roku is expanding its 4K and HDR hardware reference design to include far-field microphones for voice search and control.

The 8K units pledge to deliver more than 33 million pixels compared to 8.3 million in today’s UHD 4K TVs. More pixels mean more clarity and detail, especially in the largest TV screen sizes. As more consumers adopt 65”, 75” and even larger screens for their homes, TCL and Roku believe consumers will choose the greater screen resolution of 8K for those displays, as evidenced by the prior trend in 4K TV purchases.

China-based TCL was one of the first TV manufacturers to incorporate Roku and produce a line of branded TVs. It claims to be the No. 2 smart TV in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to continue to break boundaries as we plan to build televisions that push the limits of picture quality and offer TV models with built-in voice control,” Chris Larson, SVP, TCL, said in a statement.

Since launching in 2014, the Roku TV licensing program has grown to be the No. 1 licensed TV OS in the U.S. The program provides OEMs with hardware reference designs and the Roku OS to build smart TVs. Roku manages the software updates, including delivering new features, regular channel updates and more. During the first nine months of 2018, more than one in four smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs.

“In designing and delivering 8K TCL Roku TVs we will reach new heights by offering beautiful picture quality combined with America’s No. 1 TV streaming platform,” said Chas Smith, GM, Roku TV & Players.

 

 

Research: Number of Global UHD TV Homes Passes 200 Million

The number of homes worldwide using an Ultra HD TV has now passed the 200 million mark, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices service.

The report, 4K and 8K Ultra HDTV Global Market Forecast, predicts that 222 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 50% over the past twelve months. The report also forecasts that more than 600 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by 2023. The vast majority of these homes will have a 4K display — only 3% of Ultra HD TVs in use will be 8K-ready by this time.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • North America will continue to lead in adoption of Ultra HD TVs, with 71% of homes owning one by 2023;
  • The largest market in terms of annual sales of Ultra HD TVs is the Asia Pacific region, where they will reach nearly 46 million units this year;
  • Sales of 8K Ultra HDTVs will reach more than 400,000 units in 2019 and more than 11 million by 2023, which will represent a 6% share of the total Ultra HD TV market; and
  • By 2023 3.9% of Ultra HDTV homes in North America will own 8K displays, compared to 4.1% in Asia Pacific and 1.7% in Western Europe.

“The success of Ultra HDTV has been driven by technology adoption rather than content and services,” said David Mercer, principal analyst and the report’s author, in a statement. “4K video and TV services are now becoming more widely available, meeting the expectations of 4K Ultra HDTV owners for the best quality TV experience. But our expectations for 8K services should be cautious: while Japan has now launched 8K TV in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the rest of the world will be slower to follow suit, given that the number of homes with 8K-ready TVs will remain low until the mid 2020s.”

“Owners of 8K TVs will primarily be watching 4K and HD content, while the TV’s image processors will do a good job of scaling most content to give impressive images,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Amidst the excitement surrounding 8K TVs, it is important to remember that image resolution, whether native or otherwise, is only one element in perceived video quality, and TV vendors and content players alike should not lose focus on other important drivers of consumer satisfaction, such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR).”

IHS Markit: TV Shipments to Grow 3.6% in 2018 With UHD Models to Account for More Than Half of Shipments in 2019

After declining unit-shipment volumes in 2017, global TV shipments are forecast to grow 3.6% year over year in 2018, with additional 1.4% growth in 2019, according to a new report from research firm IHS Markit.

Of the 226 million TVs expected to ship in 2019, more than half will be ultra-high-definition (UHD) models, the majority of which are 4K. However, 8K TVs from major global TV brands will launch toward the end of 2018, kicking off the next wave of resolution transition, according to the report.

“Growth in the TV market typically is the result of more attractive retail prices for large-screen sizes and the continued commoditization of 4K resolution, driving TV replacements and upgrades,” said IHS research and analysis executive director Paul Gagnon in a statement. “However, this growth through price compression has a negative effect on profits, so TV brands are actively looking for more growth from advanced TV models to improve earnings.”
Technologies such as 8K, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot (QD) carry substantial premiums, and 4K TVs still carry premiums of more than 35 percent at screen sizes where 1080p resolution is still an option, such as 40-inch to 49-inch TVs, according to IHS.

IHS Markit forecasts that the 8K TV market will grow from less than 20,000 units in 2018 to more than 430,000 in 2019 — eventually approaching 2 million units by 2020. All of this growth will be centered on 60-inch and larger screen sizes, with 65-inch TVs accounting for more than half of the volume.

OLED TV is expected to grow more than 40% in 2019, rising to 3.6 million units. This growth is in line with previous forecasts, because demand is essentially matching industry production capacity, according to IHS. The size mix still favors 55-inch TVs, based on current prices, but it will transition to mostly 65-inch TVs by 2020, when new production capacity is optimized for larger screen sizes, and when substantial growth is expected in the OLED TV category.

Quantum dot LCD TV shipments are now forecast to exceed 4 million units in 2019, based on more aggressive pricing and the introduction of transitional quantum-dot-equipped LCD TV models, according to IHS.
“The high-end prices of non-QD-equipped LCD TV models and the prices of the low end QD-equipped LCD TV models have moved closer together,” Gagnon said in a statement. “This extension of the quantum dot LCD TV lineup into more moderate price ranges effectively reduces the quantum dot premium to less than 100 percent at mid-range sizes, opening up the category to a larger addressable market of consumers.”

LG Introduces ‘World’s First’ 8K OLED TV

LG Electronics is introducing the world’s first 8K (7680 x 4320) OLED TV, according to a company press release.

Previewed at IFA 2018, the 88-inch, 8K LG OLED TV features more than 33 million self-emitting pixels to produce the “unmatched contrast ratio and true blacks that define OLED TV’s iconic picture quality,” according to the release.

OLED TV shipments in the market are expected to double in 2018 and reach more than 9 million units by 2022, with the 8K TV market expected to grow to more than 5 million units by 2022, the release stated.

“LG’s first 8K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and the next evolutionary step in display technology,” said Brian Kwon, president of LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “4K OLED played a major role in reshaping the TV industry, and LG is confident that 8K OLED will do the same.”

LG Bowing 88-Inch 8K OLED TV at CES

Bigger — especially hype — is better when it comes to the annual Consumer Electronics Show taking place Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

LG Electronics announced it will showcase the world’s first 88-inch 8K OLED display featuring 33 million pixels — four times the clarity of 4K Ultra HD.

“OLED is clearly a next-generation technology leader and for this reason, LG Display is accelerating its research and development into OLED so that we can provide differentiated products to customers and markets,” CTO In-Byung Kang said in a statement.

LG says the OLED TV display maintains a slim design without requiring excessive backlighting. The company noted LCD displays with 8K resolution inevitably get heavier and thicker because backlight units need to be placed directly behind the panels to achieve the same level of brightness and picture quality as 4K displays — the current top resolution.

OLED displays, however, are superior for higher resolution due to lower aperture ratios — the area that light can pass through as it is not covered by the black matrix and the wiring portion (electric circuit) in the entire area of the pixel.

LG announced its 8K OLED display creates even more “delicate” images, citing comments from DisplayMate, a display-testing and rating body, praising OLED TVs as visually “indistinguishable from perfect,” with the highest absolute color accuracy, the highest absolute luminance accuracy, and the highest contrast ratio.

LG’s newest model likely won’t come cheap. The manufacturer’s currently available 77-inch 4K OLED TV reportedly retails for $20,000.