Samsung Electronics has shaped television history by developing technical innovations ranging from FHD and 4K to 8K, due to its long-term strategic vision and insatiable desire to bring new technologies to market.
Samsung Newsroom got down with TV specialists to learn more about the accomplishments made so far in the field of TV technical innovation, as well as the future of display technologies in the era of UHD displays.
Endless Innovation is paving the way for the future of television.
Picture clarity is now one of the most important aspects that consumers consider when purchasing a television. For the first time in Korea, Samsung succeeded in developing and mass producing a color television, the Color Economy TV, in 1977, ushering in the age of color television for the nation. Samsung was the first color TV maker in Korea due to its unwavering commitment to innovation, and the company was never lackadaisical about the enormous success of its black and white TV model, the Econo TV, which dominated the monthly TV market at the time.
The LCD TV was created next, and in 2009, Samsung revealed its breakthrough model, the Samsung LED TV. The LED TV was the culmination of all of the cutting-edge technologies available at the time, providing for unrivaled picture clarity thanks to light-emitting diodes. All components of Samsung’s LED TV were developed from scratch, and the model received over 3,000 patents.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017, Samsung unveiled the world’s first QLED TV built on cadmium-free quantum dot technology. (CES). The company’s innovative TV, which boasted superb image clarity and 100% color volume, was the focus of attention that year.
A year later, the company released a QLED 8K variant with 8K resolution and Samsung’s unique quantum dot technology. It featured Direct Full Array, a backlight technology able to precisely control the lighting balance across every part of the picture on-screen, as well as 8K AI Upscaling, an upscaling technology designed to intelligently upgrade lower-quality videos into vivid 8K resolution, for the first time in the industry. Samsung’s innovative QLED 8K innovations ushered in the 8K age.
“In 2020, Samsung unveiled the world’s first bezel-less TV that completely removed the bezels from around the display,“ said Hyunchul Song from the Product Development Group. “A year later, we further solidified our position as an industry leader by introducing our Neo QLED technology based on Quantum Mini LED displays. From FHD through to 8K, we have undertaken ceaseless efforts to develop innovative products that offer differentiated experiences based on consumer needs.”
Striking for Superior Picture Quality Through In-Depth Human Behavior Research
“Picture quality is considered good when it delivers a sense of reality to the viewer that feels as if you are witnessing the images on-screen first-hand,” explained Youngseok Han, a developer from the H/W Lab. “To ensure good picture quality, display performance indicators such as high resolution, high luminance and excellent color expression are essential. What also matters is how well-balanced the other cutting-edge technologies of the display are, including the chip design, the picture quality algorithms and the sound.”
Han went on to provide further insight into the importance of balance to the corresponding picture quality. “The factors that impact picture quality the most are how well you organize the various relevant technologies. These include those designed to reduce distortion and any image transmission noise, those that reproduce colors precisely and richly and create sharp contrast for more vivid, clear images and those motion technologies that ensure the movement of objects on-screen appears smooth and fluid.”
It would be difficult to create high-quality images with a single technology, no matter how advanced that technology is. This is why Samsung is dedicated to creating new technologies through a variety of methods, rather than relaxing on their success as an industry leader. Real Depth Enhancer, which was recently launched on the 2023 Neo QLED TV, is one of the new features that has been created to further improve image clarity.
When human eyes are concentrated on an item, attention is guided toward the object by optimizing sharpness, clarity, and texture, all while keeping the background picture in tact. Based on a comprehension of this human behavior, Samsung’s Real Depth Enhancer technology employs AI to automatically separate an object from its backdrop, creating a greater feeling of depth and making the pictures truly shine.
Furthermore, Neo Quantum Matrix Pro technology enhances fine detail playing by precisely controlling the quantum micro LEDs across a total of 13,684 levels. This careful adjustment adds depth and realism to the pictures on-screen.
“Our Real Depth Enhancer technology is the result of an optimization of all the relevant technologies in a way that takes human psychology into account, instead of focusing only on improving resolution,” noted Han.
In the Age of 8K Technology, from 8K Games to Artworks on Samsung TVs
Users are constantly inundated with new material these days. Every day, tens of thousands of new pieces of media and content are released across a variety of channels — but does the same hold true for 8K content?
“Following the recent growth of 8K devices including smartphones, anyone is able to create 8K content and view it in ultra-high resolution,” said Sangmin Lee, Head of the Picture Quality Solution Lab. “High-performance graphics cards also now make it possible for users to play 8K games, meaning that we are already living in the age of 8K UHD.”
Song further detailed the growth of 8K content in today’s viewing market. “There is a growing amount of 8K content available on social media channels, and artists are creating digital artworks in 8K,” he explained. “We added in ‘YouTube Videos in 8K’ feature to the 2023 Neo QLED TV to allow users to peruse the 8K content available on YouTube and explore digital artworks, such as an image in NFT form, at a single glance.”
Samsung is also leading the way in extending the 8K content environment by chairing the 8K Association, a worldwide non-profit group founded in 2019 to set 8K standards and expand 8K content. The organization has 33 members as of February 2023, including Samsung, TV panel manufacturers, SoC chip makers, and major content providers. Last year, Samsung published a preview for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 8K series, which was created in cooperation with Amazon Prime Video, another 8K Association member.
Creating Optimal Picture Quality That Pushes Viewing Experiences to New Heights
In order to learn more about the next steps for industry leader Samsung in terms of picture quality in the age of 8K technology, Samsung Newsroom asked the three TV professionals what their goals are.
“As a developer, I feel the most accomplished when I hear the feedback that viewers think the images on-screen seem real to them,” said Han. “My goal is to further improve our algorithms by optimizing a range of components in order to deliver picture quality that is ‘more real than real’ to viewers.”
For Song, creating technologies that bring real value to users is of the utmost importance. “While the development department works to create the best picture quality through technological innovation, I am more involved in optimizing products to bring high-quality experiences to as many viewers as possible,” said Song. “I will continue to deliberate on what other kinds of user value we can bring to our viewers.”
Finally, from Lee’s perspective, the goal is and always has been to provide users with experiences that go beyond simply watching content. “The most important value that a display can provide is to present images that seem more real than reality itself,” explained Lee. “Through the best picture quality algorithms and leading sound performance, the optimal picture quality that is delivered then allows users to enjoy their favorite content without having to worry about adjusting the settings. Our ultimate goal is to offer superb picture quality that enables users to thoroughly enjoy their viewing experiences that go beyond simply watching content.”