Samsung will be one of the only major TV manufacturers in 2017 not to offer OLED technology. Instead, the company will rebrand its LCD technology to QLED with the Q9, Q8 and Q7 models. The company says that it is focusing on three areas; picture quality, smart, and design. FlatpanelsHD brings you the full overview of Samsungs 2017 TV line-up with prices.
Samsung will divide its 2017 TV line-up into two ranges; the premium QLED and the broader LED. Confusingly, none of the two names make much sense since all of the TVs are based on conventional LCD display technology.
Samsung explains that it has chosen to rebrand the TVs to QLED because the improvements are so significant. We first saw the Q9 and Q8 at CES 2017 in January and shared our first impressions along with lots of technical information here. We will have much more to say after we receive review samples.
QLED is of course a play on the OLED display technology that Samsungs main rival from Korea is touting. Samsung once flirted with OLED but abandoned the technology as it proved too difficult to manufacture. Instead, the worlds largest TV manufacturer has embarked down a route that will eventually take it to self-emitting QLED TVs. We are not there yet so for now QLED means LCD, but in the meantime, to hammer home the marketing message, Samsung has teamed up with two of the largest Chinese TV manufacturer, TCL and Hisense, to form the QLED Alliance.
The Q models will be some of the brightest TVs on the market in 2017
Nevertheless, Samsung is pushing LCD technology forward. Despite using edge LED in all of its high-end TVs, the Q models will be some of the brightest TVs on the market in 2017. Samsung is also touting something called color volume, saying that the TVs can reproduce 100% DCI-P3 color volume, which in essence means that the displays, at least on paper, should be capable of reproducing the colors contained in the DCI-P3 color gamut at all luminance levels up to either 1500 nits (Q7 and Q8) or 2000 nits (Q9).
4K Ultra HD resolution will in 2017 be in more TVs than ever all the way down into the 6 series models. All 4K models also feature support for HDR formats. Samsung has decided to back two HDR formats for now, namely HDR10+ and HLG. HDR10+ is an extension of the open HDR10 standard, now with dynamic metadata to improve picture on a scene-by-scene basis. The first and for now only content partner for HDR10+ will be Amazon Prime Video. More on HDR10+ here.
Many of Samsungs competitors are backing the premium (and proprietary) Dolby Vision format but Samsung wants an open standard and that is where HDR10+ fits in. It will be included in the 2017 TVs and come as a firmware update to 2016 TVs.
Samsung is also highlighting a further improved anti-reflective filter in the Q models as well as improved picture processing that will make sure that the TVs can reproduce HDR movies graded to higher peak brightness than the TVs are capable of with lots of detail in the brightest areas.
Another focus for Samsung in 2017 is design. The company will continue to push curved TVs but has decided to make its flagship Q9 flat this year. For the past two years, Samsungs flagship TV has been curved. The Q8 is still curved, whereas Q7 exists in both curved and flat versions.
The South Korean company will also launch a new TV simply dubbed 'The Frame'. As the name suggests, it looks like a picture frame on the wall and can display more than 100 pieces of art when not in use. It is a premium TV for buyers who want something out of the ordinary. However, it does not come with the quantum dot technology like the Q models.
'The Frame' hangs on the wall as a picture frame and can display more than 100 pieces of art
Samsung has furthermore equipped its Q models with the external One Connect box. It is not upgradable as in the past but makes it easier to hide cables and ports. The Q models connect to the box using a transparent and an ultra-thin fiber optics cable.
Samsung has also made sure that the TVs look elegant from the back and they will offer various stand options, including a no-gap wall mount that ensures that the flagship Q9 hangs flush to the wall.
The third key area of focus for Samsung in 2017 is Smart. The company has further optimized its Tizen operating system and is introducing a few new features and apps. It is not a major update but after the company in 2016 introduced the One remote capable of controlling connected devices as well as the new bottom menu, it appears that Samsung has finally found a direction for Smart TV that it is satisfied with.
We should perhaps emphasize that the 2017 Tizen features will not be made available to 2015 and 2016 Samsung Tizen-based Smart TVs. Like most manufacturers, Samsung continues to neglect previous TVs and refuse to update them with the latest software.
In 2017, Samsung will expand the list of devices supported by the One Remote system, enabling you to control even more devices with the TV remote. New apps will be introduced, too, but only in select markets. The Q models will get a new, more premium remote, and many of the TVs will in Europe be equipped with a twin tuner for recording TV programs. We examined the new features in 2017 Tizen here.
As part of the Smart suite is also Steam Link integration. This built-in feature lets you stream games form a PC onto the big screen via the home network with very low latency. All you need is Steam on the PC and a wireless bluetooth controller.
With the 2017 line-up, a new mobile Smart View app will be introduced. It allows you to control the TVs from a smartphone or tablet, and even extend some features from the TV onto the mobile device. It is a free download and Samsung is planning to expand the feature list in the future.
What else? The TVs naturally come with features that have been included in the past such as DLNA, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB ports. The high-end models come equipped with 4 HDMI ports and 3 USB ports whereas the mid-range models feature 3 HDMI ports and 2 USB ports.
You can tell the 2017 TVs apart from previous years models by the M in the model name for the broader LCD line-up. The high-end models are labeled Q / QLED. As a reminder: MU/M/Q = 2017, KS/KU = 2016, JS/JU = 2015, HU/H = 2014, F = 2013.
Q9 is this years flagship TV. It is a flat edge-lit LCD TV with quantum dot technology. It is part of the QLED brand.