It is the season for tech companies to announce the freshest gadgets for you to drool over, and it’s a feast for lovers of very, very good TVs. Samsung has just unveiled the company’s latest range of premium TVs at CES 2024, most of which have some kind of AI-enhanced features. At the top of the tree is the Samsung QN900D, an 8K Neo QLED Mini LED TV, the sequel to the brilliant QN900C model from last year.
Among the audio-visual announcements is a refreshed lineup of Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs. At the heart of the headliner Samsung QN900D is the brand’s “most innovative” processor, the NQ8 AI Gen3. It makes it clear how much Samsung is prioritising AI this year.
Samsung QN900D TV enhanced by AI processing
That AI touches most of the TV’s functions, including the 8K AI Upscaling Pro feature, which is a tool used to sharpen low-resolution content to make it look like it was always 8K. The AI Motion Enhancer Pro feature aims to reduce ball distortion in sports (insert Lance Armstrong joke here). Samsung claims that this AI Motion Enhancer Pro feature is able to automatically detect the sport you’re watching, and use deep learning to properly work out which type of ball it should be detecting and deblurring (baseball would require different kinds of enhancement than basketball, presumably).
Although the Real Depth Enhancer Pro feature doesn’t have AI in the title, it does use AI to enhance fast-moving scenes. The announcement explains it best: “By detecting the part of a scene that the human eye would naturally focus on and bringing it to the foreground, images appear more lifelike and three-dimensional.” It’ll be interesting to see if AV nerds like this feature more than the motion-smoothing settings of old.
The top-of-the-range Samsung QN900D also has a new mirror effect design that makes it look like it’s hovering in your living room, so that’s nifty.
In terms of audio, the new Neo QLED 8K range continues to have Q-Symphony, which allows you to use the speakers built into your TV in addition to a soundbar. The Active Voice Amplifier also promises to use a proprietary AI dialogue booster and deep learning technology (so, two ways of saying AI) to separate voices from other soundtrack sounds in movies and TV shows to make it easier to follow the dialogue in whatever you’re watching.
All the 2024 Samsung TVs will also get the new Tizen OS, which promises to be more streamlined by introducing profiles for personalised recommendations. The announcement also says that Tizen will have more categories on the home screen for “faster content discovery”, which goes against the promise of streamlining, but we’ll hold judgement until we can try it in person.
Samsung’s new gaming and accessibility tech
What is new and unexpected is that there is now going to be a ‘Designed for Samsung Gaming Hub’ controller from Performance Designed Products (PDP). It looks a lot like an Xbox Series X|S controller, but with a slightly more squished body, longer arms, textured joysticks and a cloud button at the bottom.
Given most gaming on Samsung TVs without a console is done through Xbox Game Cloud, this makes a lot of sense. The controller boasts 40 hours of playtime per charge on the built-in battery, which is significantly higher than both the PlayStation DualSense (6-12 hours), while the Xbox Play and Charge Kit rechargeable battery only manages 30 hours.
In addition to that, Samsung has announced a variety of new connected experiences to really cement the place of the TV as the centre of the home. The new Samsung Daily+ hub will include workouts, including those from TechnoGym and F45, and will even allow US users to get a real-time video consultation with a vet.
Most excitingly, there are three new accessibility features. Remote for Barrier Free is an app designed for “users with visual, auditory or physical disabilities by enabling more thoughtful TV control via smartphones.” It basically allows users to customise the remote experience on their phone to better work with their disabilities. Relumino Together Mode is a new mode that will allow people with low vision and their family enjoy TV together without the need for wearable hardware.
Micro LED, OLED, and 8K projectors
For those who consider money to be no object, there’s a new Micro LED model with transparent Micro LED. When the TV is off, it looks like a piece of glass, when the TV is on, it presumably looks like a TV.
In the high-end, but not Jeff Bezos territory, there’s the new OLED TV range. The focus this year is on brightness, with the 77-inch S95D model 20% brighter than last year’s. The full range now also has “AI-enhanced colour accuracy” and Pantone Validated colours. There are also the S90D and S85D in sizes from 42-inch to 83-inch. All the new OLED screens have a new “OLED Glare Free” technology, which claims to reduce glare while still preserving colour accuracy and sharpness.
The lifestyle range also got a refresh, with updated models of The Frame, The Serif, The Terrace and The Freestyle (now in gen 2). The most exciting of the range, though, is the new Premiere 8K Projector. Samsung claims that it’s the world’s first projector offering wireless connectivity. Fully wireless TVs and viewing seem to be a trend this week, with LG announcing a fully wireless premium OLED TV a few days ago. This 8K ultra-short throw projector has most of the same features as a regular Samsung 8K TV, only with the ability to throw an absolutely huge picture.
Finally, with many TVs, Samsung needs many soundbars, all with “advanced AI algorithms”. The most interesting among them is The Music Frame, which is a picture frame that’s actually a speaker, building on the popularity of The Frame TV. Early hands-on reports seem positive, so hopefully we can try one soon. There’s also the premium HW-Q990D 11.1.4 channel Dolby Atmos soundbar, and the ultra-thin HW-S800D.
Local availability and pricing is still a mystery on these products, but past years indicate that the QN900D will sell for around $10,000, and be available between April-June 2024.