Samsung announces 2023 TV line-up

May 2, 2023
3 mins read
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PAT PILCHER takes a look at the impressive new lineup of TV tech from Samsung whose new range looks like a winner.

Samsung has showcased their latest 4K and 8K OLED and QLED televisions for 2023 and the good news is that this year, TV buyers are in for a real treat. In even better news, they’ll also be available from next month onwards.

The launch saw Sammy also giving us a peek at their newest flagship OLED telly, the S95C, which attracted a teetering pile of accolades at the recent Consumer Electronics shindig, CES.

If what I saw is anything to go by, Samsung may be late to the market with OLED and rivals may have a considerable head start with OLED, but Samsung got a pile of ace cards tucked away up their sleeves.

Samsung’s flagship OLED uses quantum dots or QD technology. Quantum dots are tiny particles that, when illuminated, emit light in a very precise colour (determined by their diameter). The net effect of this is super accurate colour capabilities (hence the Pantone colour rating of the Flagship S95C TV) and the ability to fix another OLED shortcoming – brightness. According to the folks from Samsung, they’re able to squeeze 2,000 nits in peak brightness which, combined with the colours and contrast available via quantum dot and OLED combo, sees the S95C delivering a stunning image. When it reaches our shores, the S95C will be available in 55-inch (Est RRP $7000, 65-inch Est RRP of $7500 and a humongous 77-inch which will sell for an estimated $13,000).

The S95C also comes with a shiny new Neural Quantum Processor 4K that gives brightness and colour mapping a helping hand. Critically, it offers smart 4K upscaling, and its AI chops help it add detail back into upscaled SD or HD content.

Gamers also have good reasons to drool. It packs a 144 Hz refresh rate and a response time of 0.1 milliseconds. Better still, it’s AMD FreeSync Premium Pro certified. While the actual TV is a large slab of glass, it does sport some cosmetic differences compared to its siblings. Perhaps the most noticeable is that it comes with a One Connect box. This confers it with the ability to mount flush against a wall. It might be a skinny telly, but it comes with a 70-watt, 4.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker setup consisting of both upwards and downwards-firing drivers and Samsung’s AI-based object-tracking sound capabilities.

If the flagship TV whets your appetite (but flays your budget), don’t fret! Samsung also launched the more affordable S90C OLED TV range this year. While it lacks the 144Hz refresh rate, the demo set’s on-screen goodness impressed. It also doesn’t have One Connect, which means it is easier to set up, but will need extra space for cable routing to inputs/outputs on its rear. On the audio front, the S90C has two downward-firing drivers and a simplified version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound system. Because the S90C won’t use a QD-OLED panel, it isn’t expected to be as bright as S95C, even if its OLED goodness still looks great.

It isn’t just all about OLED, though. Samsung’s new QLED (LCD with added quantum dots) models will include the 8K QN900C and the 4K QN90C, QN85C, QN70C, and QN60C. The QN900C has the distinction of possibly being Samsung’s brightest-ever telly. Using mini-LED backlighting, it supports 8K resolution and has 14-bit backlighting (more on this later). The net result is that it can crank out a peak brightness of up to 4000 nits. Watching TV and getting a tan at the same time is a distinct possibility.

The QN900C (and QN95C) use AI to offer what Samsung calls ‘Auto HDR Remastering’. It adds surprisingly convincing HDR to standard dynamic range content on a scene-by-scene basis. With it, older, non-HDR-mastered movies could get a whole new lease of life. Samsung also quadrupled the number of dimming blocks in its Mini LED range. A black background with a white Samsung logo would appear at the end of each demo footage cycle. On the QN900C, no discernible blooming was visible at the end of the looped demo footage, which for an LCD TV is extremely impressive.

The new range incorporates some cool stuff above and beyond all the improved AV technologies. The new range plays nice with Philips Hue gradient light strips without you having to cough up $1200 for an extra HDMI hardware adaptor. Instead, you connect the lights directly to the TV and buy an app on the TV’s app store for $200. Having reviewed Hue Gradient on my gaming monitor, I highly recommend it. Another bonus is cloud gaming support without coughing up additional money for an Xbox console. Gaming is cloud-based, so you’ll need fast broadband (preferably fibre), an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, and controllers. The TV does the rest.

On the smart home front, support for Alexa is still there. Still, the new line-up sees Samsung’s SmartThings now supporting both Zigbee AND Matter/Thread, essentially future-proofing your TV investment as part of your smart home setup and reducing the number of hub boxes cluttering up your AV cabinet.

The AI chops of Samsung’s new TVs are impressive. Real-time AI-based audio remastering complements the on-the-fly HDR capabilities of the TVs, and accessibility features such as AI-based subtitling and image enhancement for visually impaired viewers are also present. Last but by no means least, Samsung has opened up the technologies behind their battery-free smart remotes to other TV manufacturers. These ingenious remotes harvest power from room lighting via a small photovoltaic cell on their underside. They’ll also harvest radio energy from your home’s Wi-Fi to recharge built-in supercapacitors, which should never need replacing.

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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