It’s CES time, and that means lots of new televisions. But, televisions have been hitting a wall the past few years — we’re getting about as much as we can out of LED-backlit LCD panels, but OLED panels are still a bit too hard to source and produce to go mainstream. That hasn’t stopped Samsung from creating a new premium line of televisions just about every year — here we thought their SUHD TVs, introduced in 2015, would be the new hotness, and this year they’re already going by the wayside. At CES 2017, Samsung is introducing the Q line of smart TVs, using what they call QLED technology.
On the surface, it’s the same refrain — wider color gamut, better color contrast. Things are staying steady at 4k resolution, as any higher wouldn’t create a noticeable difference. The enhanced color spectrum and contrast comes by way of quantum dot technology, which Samsung has been using for a few years now. It’s an attempt to mimic OLED, in which pixels are lit individually, allowing for the greatest possible color contrast against black. This year, Samsung is using metal quantum dots that can be lit from multiple angles from the backlight, improving viewing angles. The most important difference might be that the new panels degrade slower, so 2017 Samsung Q televisions should last a bit longer while maintaining their out-of-the-box picture quality, a weakness of OLED TVs. Samsung has also gotten 2,000 nits of brightness out of their QLED TVs — that should help bring out even more details in darker scenes. Combine that with an anti-glare coating, and you get a TV that will still look great even if natural sunlight is coming in from behind.
Samsung will have three models coming out this year (no pricing or availability yet) — the Q7, Q8, and Q9, among TVs in Samsung’s lower-end lines. While Samsung will still have slightly curved televisions this year, it’s been made clear that curved TVs are not being pushed as heavily as in years past — that’s a trend we’re seeing across CES 2017, alongside the total abandonment of 3D in televisions. It seems like the market must have spoken when it comes to those two features.
UPDATE 01/05/17: Post edited to provide more information about Samsung’s changes to quantum dot technology.