It’s CES time and Samsung is, as is the norm, showing off the bleeding edge in television technology. The company’s 2020 8K lineup is spearheaded by the Q950TS QLED 8K TV. The name might be a mouthful, but the television is absolutely nuts. The trend of diminishing bezels has spilled over from phones to televisions, and suitably, Samsung is calling this an Infinity Screen. The company claims that the 2.3mm bezel gives the Q950 a 99% screen-to-body ratio — the highest in the world.
Of course, the other big draw here is the 8K panel itself. Samsung knows that 8K content is virtually non-existent, so it has built an AI and machine-learning powered upscaling solution for making your HD and 4K content look better. Meanwhile, Samsung is working directly with content providers like Amazon to better optimize video content for low bandwidth networks. Using its AI ScaleNet technology, Samsung claims that it can reduce bandwidth requirements by half when streaming 4K or even 8K content, once that’s available.
While the quantum-dot panel has essentials like full-array local dimming, the Adaptive Picture mode is a nice addition. The Samsung Q950 can adjust screen calibration keeping in mind the ambient light in a room. We’ve seen similar tech on Google’s Nest Hub and done well it can truly elevate a video watching experience.
Elsewhere, Samsung is focussing just as much on the audio experience as well. The Samsung Q950 is equipped with a full array of speakers that can match the position of on-screen movement with individual speakers. We’ve seen this before on Sony’s OLED TVs and the technology certainly has merit. Samsung claims that the TV can output 5.1 channel surround-sound from the onboard speakers, but I would take that claim with a pinch of salt. What is nice though is the ability to synchronize the television speakers with an external soundbar to create a more immersive soundscape.
The Q950, like other Samsung TVs, is powered by Tizen and has Bixby integration. Now, Samsung is adding in support for Alexa and Google Assistant as well to the 2020 8K panel lineup. In fact, the company is revamping things quite a bit as far as software is concerned. For one, Samsung Health now finds place over on the television as well. Users can track fitness goals and access content from providers like Calm, FitPlan and more. Then there’s the Digital Butler service that makes your TV the center of your smart home. Paired with an IR blaster, you can control all kinds of devices directly from the TV.
The 8K panel might be the draw here, but it is interesting to see Samsung ramping up design as well as the software proposition to incentivize users, prospective buyers, to step up to what will undoubtedly be a very expensive television. On that note, Samsung hasn’t announced a price for the Q950, but we should know more when the 2020 8K lineup starts shipping later in the year.