Perhaps it was the distraction of the whole event but at CES this year it seemingly went unnoticed that Samsung didn’t actually announce consumer TVs for 2018 – instead their focus was on “The Wall” and smart home integration across their devices.

In New York today in an event which resembled it’s mega smartphone launches Samsung revealed a range of technologies which would feature across much of the 2018 range of TVs coming to Australia this year.

From darker blacks, better contrast and technology that blends the TV into your wall it’s all coming to a TV near you.

Hass Mahdi, Head of Product AV, Samsung Australia said of the launch “Our 2018 QLED range is designed to bring Australians together to enjoy the best TV experience we have ever offered.”

“Today we’ve unveiled our 2018 TV range, which includes our flagship QLED TV, as well as an expanded lineup of UHD, Premium UHD and Ultra-Large Screen TVs. This year we continue to bring incredible picture quality, enhanced smart capabilities and design that make Samsung TVs a perfect fit for the styles, viewing habits, and connected lifestyles of Australians.”

Targeting OLED

Samsung might not say it outright, however their quest with QLED technology is to bridge the gap between to OLED each year and it is working.

This year’s Direct Full Array technology will feature in the top of the line Q9F and Q8F QLED TVs and targets the contrast levels across all images and is achieved via a framework of LEDs across the display which are “precisely controlled” to achieve this outcome.

Blending into your Wall

This is where things get pretty cool – imaging walking into a TV retailer later this year and instead of the TVs being hung on a plane black, or white wall, Samsung are going to want to have it displayed on a patterned wall or similar because their 2018 TVs with Ambient Mode will blend into the wall around them.

Like a Chameleon the idea here is that instead of a black box on the wall, you’ll see an interactive display which is a whole lot less plain and boring.

To enable this feature you pair the device with your smartphone (demonstrated on a Samsung phone) and launch an app that allows you to open your camera showing the entire wall, around the TV and with the TV in the picture.

The lab app then analyses the picture, creating a Photoshop “Content aware” like fill for the black space.

We tested it here in New York and it was a 40 second process from start to finish, and the result is pretty spectacular.

You might then choose a clock, or a photo to display over your “wall”.

Not dissimilar to the Frame TV which Samsung had much success with in 2017, this varies slightly because the Art Mode on the Frame does a lot more with dimming and sensors to detect who’s in the room.

Ambient mode also detects people in the room, but it does this by syncing to a mobile signal.  We’ll need to test if that requires that phone to be registered in advance.

A fair bit to dive into in a full review down the track, but regardless of the detail Samsung is clearly looking to make this transition from “black box” that can show TV to a “display” on your wall which is never dull.

Messy cables be gone!

It must be said that Samsung’s “one connect” cable on the 2016 and 2017 models has been a sensation.  A small box sits in your entertainment unit where your HDMI, USB and Antenna connection are, and then a single tiny cable feeds back to the TV.

in 2018 select models in Samsung’s range will feature a new “One Invisible Connection” – which in Australia will be called “One Clear Connection” because, well – it’s not invisible.  With this cable it’s not just external devices, but also power which is delivered – meaning there is no power cable required.

Not only does this tidy things up, but it means the TV can go almost anywhere, that small fishing-line like cable can be run over quite long distances so your TV can be placed in an area where there is no power point in proximity.

The 5m One Clear Connect cable comes with the TV, a 15m is available as an option.

A Smart Smart TV.

Smart TVs should really be called Connected TVs these days.  If your TV has Netflix, or Stan or YouTube on it, it’s a connected TV.

But it’s the smarts behind your Netflix and other accounts where things really ramp up.  Not available at launch but coming later this year is a feature which makes setting up the TV a breeze.  Samsung say the setup time has been dramatically be reduced by integrating with your smartphone.  Taking your WiFi network details, Social and Streaming app logins and integrating them quickly into the TV itself.  Sounds great – we assume it requires a certain version of Samsung phone, but we’ll be testing that too.

While Bixby is launching in other markets, Australia won’t initially be getting Bixby on our Samsung TVs.

The Seamless setup app will launch later in the year in Australia, Smart Things app to control your smart home devices will come to Aussie TVs but will be limited to controlling Samsung Smart Things compatible devices initially.

Go Big or Go Home

Hass from Samsung also talked about the size of our TVs “Australians are looking for larger TVs. Thanks to outstanding picture quality of Samsung TVs and accessible high quality content, gone are the days where you needed a large room for a large screen. The Samsung 2018 range includes several models above 75-inches and above to provide choice for those looking for their next TV.”

That’s reflected in the model lineup where no less than four 75 inch TVs are available.

QLED Models in 2018: 

(Featuring Ambient mode, One Remote, and One Invisible Connection is available in the Q7, Q8 & Q9)

  • Q9F (65”, 75”, 88”)
  • Q8F (55”, 65”)
  • Q7F (55”, 65”, 75”)
  • Q6F (55”, 65”, 75”)

Premium UHD models in 2018:

  • NU7100  (43″, 49″, 55″, 65″, 75″)
  • NU8500 (55″, 65″)
  • NU8000 (55″, 65″, 75″, 82″)

The new range hits stores in April 2018, full Aussie pricing will be released closer to availability.

Trevor Long traveled to New York as a guest of Samsung Australia