Samsung just introduced a gigantic MicroLED TV dubbed The Wall, but its core technology, QLED, is not going anywhere, at least for now.
The Q96 features QLED technology, 8K resolution, and AI, with a price tag to match. It’s smaller than the 146-inch The Wall, at 85 inches across the diagonal, but the Q96 features double the resolution. Yes, Samsung – like LG – is already moving to 8K resolution, in spite of a small problem: you can’t get any 8K content right now.
Samsung’s solution to the chicken-and-egg problem of 8K is an AI-powered algorithm that upsamples 4K and lower-res content to 8K.
“Samsung’s AI technology has all but eliminated this obstacle by enabling the television to transform all pictures into 8K, the current highest ultra-high definition television resolution in digital television and digital cinematography. It lets consumers enjoy just about any movie or TV show on any channel in 8K resolution regardless of native resolution or method of transmission,” said Samsung in a blog post.
These are bold claims, for sure, but Samsung has a few technical details to back them. The company says it uses machine learning and a database of millions of images in order to find the best way to upsample images and video. The TV effectively fills in details that don’t exist in the original content, and then applies noise reduction and edge restoration techniques to complete the picture. History has taught us to be skeptical about software-based upsampling, and it remains to be seen if throwing AI into the mix will buck the trend.
Samsung did not reveal the price tag of the Q96, which features a striking easel-style design, but we expect it to be a pretty penny. The good news is the Q96 and its AI upsampling tech will open the road for more TV sets to go 8K. Samsung says it will launch more 8K TVs with upsampling technology from the second part of 2018.
In related news, Samsung is bringing its Bixby digital assistant to its 2018 smart TV lineup. That means you’ll be able to interact with your TV using just your voice, though users might find Bixby lacking compared to the more mature Alexa and Assistant. And, for those who are on already on track to owning a smart home, Samsung TVs will provide hub capabilities, thanks to SmartThings integration.