On-screen obsessive PAT PILCHER takes a pre-review look at the innovative features of the upcoming Samsung TVs.
Another year, more TVs. I may sound like a jaded journalist, but the reality is anything but. Samsung’s 2022 TV line-up brings pretty nifty and clever new features into play. Here’s what was announced.
Remotes might be one of the least talked about parts of any TV. It isn’t until you discover their batteries are DOA that you realise just how vital that clicker is. Samsung realised this, and they’ve made their 2022 TV remotes battery-free. Instead, they’re using capacitors, and the underside of the remote has solar cells. Flip them upside down, and they’ll charge up from sunlight or even your lounge lights. There is, of course, the not-so-small issue of a lot of TV rooms not being terribly sunny (owing to screen glare and all that), but Sammy has you covered. Their remotes can also harvest energy from your home’s 2.4ghz Wi-Fi and use it to stay charged – how clever is that? This means less harmful rare earth materials are needed for batteries, and the remotes are made with recycled ocean plastic.
The other big news with the 2022 Sammy TV line-up is smart home integration. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always seen Samsung’s smart things ecosystem as a bit of a wasted opportunity. Not for much longer though. This time around, Samsung has given it a much-needed shot in the arm. A smart hub menu is now baked directly into their TVs. It’ll work with third-party gear such as Philips Hue lights, Arlo cameras, Ring doorbells, and other smart home gizmos. Bixby is still there, but the new TVs will also play nice with Alexa and Google. Samsung is also supporting the upcoming Matter standard. This provides futureproofing in that Samsung’s TVs will play nice with all matter of compliant smart gadgets, making for more seamless smart home interoperability.
Not content with making the TV the hub of your home, Sammy has also added some clever accessibility touches. Samsung says that soon they’ll launch an AI-powered smart sign language avatar as a software update. It’ll be able to display sign language based on spoken on-screen content. Smart subtitling is also available, and it’ll re-format or move subtitles so they don’t obscure on-screen content.
Having tweaked many aspects of their 2022 TV line-up, Samsung took things one step further. They added an AI-powered fitness trainer and interactive workouts to their TVs. When combined with an optional camera or smartphone and a Galaxy watch, the trainer ensures your posture and workout are correct. Health stats from the watch are displayed on the telly as you work up a sweat.
As many of us have multiple game consoles, Samsung’s 2022 TVs now sport multiple HDMI 2.1 ports. These give all your consoles access to gamer-friendly features such as 144hz refresh rates for silky-smooth gameplay and other gaming-specific video optimisations. If that were all, it’d be fine, but Samsung has also added the gaming hub. It works with Stadia and uses Nvidia smarts to offer gameplay goodness. In theory (at least if and when Stadia ever becomes available in NZ) you’ll be able to pair up a console game controller with your Samsung TV and skip the game console altogether.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the many tweaks Samsung’s engineers have made with their TVs’ video capabilities. As the hype around OLED grows, you’d be forgiven for thinking that LCD was on the way out. No one told Samsung this. They’ve taken LCD and added a lot of polish to refine their LCD offerings to the point where it’s now hard to distinguish them from OLED. A move to micro-LED backlighting for full-screen local dimming plays a huge part. Previously the LEDs used to backlight LCD TVs were large, meaning that blob-sized areas of the screen were illuminated and/or dimmed. This resulted in noticeable halos around bright on-screen objects. It also affected contrast levels, softening on-screen video. Vastly improved local area dimming and 14-bit HDR combines to deliver eye-popping results. Add Samsung’s quantum dot tech for super vivid colours, and the Nural quantum 8K video processor which has 20 independent AI cores, and the results are impressive. The new video processor handles motion processing and all but eliminates motion judder (which has long been a problem with LCD). Given the lack of 8K content, the Nural Quantum 8k video Processor also handles seamless upscaling to 8k, so HD and UHD content gets bumped up to a convincing 8K resolution.
This is just a taster of what Samsung has coming with their 2022 TV range. Watch this space as the Witchdoctor team gears up to put these new tellies through their paces with some reviews soon.