It is that point of 12 months when many TV producers start asserting costs for and delivery their annual product refreshes. We took a have a look at Sony’s OLED lineup yesterday, and at this time we’re turning our consideration to Samsung, which simply introduced imminent availability (most fashions will begin delivery this month) for its high-end Micro LED and Mini LED TV lineup.
We’ll get to Micro LED in a minute, however let’s begin with the mainstream excessive finish, which includes the Mini LED TVs. Samsung is giving these a proprietary “Neo QLED” label.
The top-end QN900A is probably the most tricked-out 8K choice, with 65-inch ($5,000), 75-inch ($7,000), and 85-inch choices ($9,000). One step down whereas holding the 8K banner flying is the QN800A, supplied in the identical sizes however at $3,500, $4,700, and $6,500, respectively.
Since there’s hardly any 8K content material on the market to take pleasure in, most individuals who aren’t simply in search of bragging rights will need to go for the 4K fashions. The flagship there’s the QN90A, at 55 inches ($1,800), 65 inches ($2,600), 75 inches ($3,500), and 85 inches ($5,000).
One step down will get you the QN85A, which is available in the identical sizes because the QN90A at $1,600, $2,200, $3,000, and $4,500.
Throughout the brand new TVs supplied, we’re trying on the traditional specs for high-end TVs in 2021 no matter producer, together with HDMI 2.1 with all of the options you anticipate to return with it, like VRR, 4K120, ALLM, and eARC. There’s additionally Filmmaker Mode, and a one-stop pop-up menu for accessing HDMI 2.1 and gaming-related options like VRR. (LG launched one thing related in its 2021 TVs.)
And as traditional, Samsung is not enjoying ball with Dolby, so there is not any help for Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR (or Atmos, for that matter). Somewhat, you will need to lean on both the just-as-good-in-most-cases-but-inferior-in-some-situations HDR-10 commonplace, or HDR-10+, which stays somewhat gentle on content material.
And naturally, like each different large 2021 TV, the brand new Mini LED units will function an improved AI processor that does video and audio processing to maximise the wow issue.
The opposite large information with the 2021 TVs is that Samsung is (kind of) strolling again a extensively criticized transfer it made in its lineup in 2020. That was when the corporate really downgraded the variety of dimming zones and another options in its 4K TVs relative to their 2019 predecessors in favor of pushing the envelope in its 8K portfolio as an alternative.
The 8K TVs nonetheless have extra dimming zones, however we’re not an enormous year-over-year drop like final time. That is as a result of Samsung’s new 4K fashions may also function Mini LED tech similar to the 8K TVs—which wasn’t a forgone conclusion, given what occurred final 12 months.
Samsung says its cheaper TVs will launch later within the 12 months, and it did not present any info that we did not already see on the Shopper Electronics Present in January.
Explaining Micro LED and Samsung’s OLED-busting technique
Whereas a lot of the hype on the planet of TVs is at present centered on OLED, Samsung’s LCD TVs stay the bestselling TVs in lots of areas, and in-depth technical reviewers like Rtings fairly constantly title Samsung’s units as the perfect non-OLED ones accessible by way of image high quality, albeit not at all times in bang-for-buck. Samsung does not even make OLED TVs, although it produces OLED panels for different merchandise.
And to probably battle OLED in the long run, Samsung is counting on Micro LED expertise, which has individually emissive pixels similar to OLED does. Which means Micro LED matches OLED’s chief benefit, which is that pixels of most brightness seem proper subsequent to pixels which can be utterly black. However Samsung claims the burn-in danger related to OLED just isn’t a consider the identical approach with Micro LED.
Plus, OLED TVs have been knocked for not matching the HDR peak brightness of the perfect conventional LED TVs. Micro LED is claimed to mix the perfect of each worlds: good blacks with very excessive peak brightness and all of the granularity you’d anticipate in between.
Micro LED TVs have been talked up as the long run TV tech for years, and so they’ve been commercially accessible in very restricted contexts earlier than, however this 12 months marks Samsung’s first quasi-mainstream try and promote a bunch of them.
They nonetheless will not be for everybody, although. They’re certain to be colossally costly for one factor, however they’re going to additionally solely are available 110- and 99-inch sizes to begin. Later, we’ll get 88- and 76-inch sizes, however even these are larger than most individuals’s residing rooms can accommodate.
So for its extra mainstream flagship TVs, Samsung is leaning on Mini LED, which isn’t the identical as equally named Micro LED. Mini LED TVs are nonetheless basically the identical expertise as every other LCD TV the corporate has bought for years, however with a brand new strategy that enables far more granular backlighting to scale back blooming round vibrant objects and different issues related to LCD TVs whereas nonetheless delivering robust peak brightness.
Count on to see the time period Mini LED popping up loads within the very close to future, whereas Micro LED will in all probability keep out of the mainstream for some time but. Different corporations, like Apple, are bullish on Mini LED and are poised to roll it out in all kinds of merchandise like laptops and tablets within the coming months.
As if the stew of phrases like “OLED,” “LED,” “LCD,” “Mini LED,” and “Micro LED” wasn’t complicated sufficient, Samsung has opted to model its Mini LED units “Neo QLED” TVs, which primarily means nothing, besides that Samsung desires to assert it is the one firm making “Neo QLED” TVs.
The corporate referred to as its earlier high-end LED TVs “QLED” TVs due to an optimization dubbed quantum dot expertise, which was the earlier large push to make LCD TVs extra aggressive with OLED earlier than Mini LED got here alongside. “QLED” will stay the label for the corporate’s midrange LCD units.
Itemizing picture by Samsung