Samsung’s exotic new QLED televisions will start at $2,800, available next week

A snow storm in New York has Manhattan more or less shut down (you know it’s bad when most of the Starbucks are closed), forcing Samsung to cancel the launch event it had planned today for its 2017 home entertainment lineup of products. However, Samsung has released the details on its flagship QLED line of televisions along with a super-premium “frame” TV, a stylish new sound bar, and a new version of its Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Samsung’s announcement also came along with news that BBC America’s popular new series, Planet Earth II, will now be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for $60.

Samsung’s new QLED TV line comprises four ‘Q’ series with multiple screen sizes available, starting at no smaller than 55 inches. As the premium line within the company’s larger range of TV offerings this year, Samsung distinguishes QLED using three bullet points: Q Picture, to describe its best available picture quality; Q Smart, embodied in a new smart TV interface, remote, and smart recommendation engine; and Q Style, which describes new design elements meant to make installation easier and cleaner than previous TV series. Here’s a more technical breakdown of what all that means, followed with a detailed listing of series, screen sizes, and pricing for each QLED TV:

Q Picture

While many TV experts were anxiously anticipating Samsung’s unveiling of a new emissive TV technology at CES 2017 to do battle with LG’s OLED panel tech, the company had something a little more familiar in store. QLED still uses an LCD panel with LED edgelights, but Samsung has incorporated some meaningful refinements to its prior SUHD TV lineup for a picture that is brighter, offers a broader range of color brightness (being referred to as color volume), and has slightly better off-angle picture quality. To achieve this, Samsung altered the composition of its Quantum Dot material by incorporating metallic elements. It’s unclear how the addition of metals changes the behavior characteristics of Quantum Dots in the application of its TVs, but the result appears to be a higher level of overall efficiency.

A byproduct of that higher efficiency is higher brightness both in terms of grey scale and color. This allows Samsung to offer a TV that is capable of delivering a sparkling HDR experience when viewing HDR-enabled content on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and through streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. Samsung calls its HDR tech HDR 1500, though it remains unclear if that is meant to signify 1500 nits peak brightness. It should be noted that the flagship Q9F reaches 2,000 nits peak brightness. For those not familiar with nits, this is an industry leading figure, representing an extremely bright TV with the ability to offer dazzling spectral highlights in HDR content.

Subjectively, black levels seemed to remain impressively deep on Samsung’s QLED TVs when Digital Trends briefly viewed them at CES 2017 in January, though we’ll hold off on making any firm assessments on this point until proper reviews and comparisons have been conducted.

Q Smart

Samsung continues to refine its Tizen smart TV operating system to the point where its TVs are more interactive and intuitive than ever before. Central to QLED smart improvements is a new Samsung One remote control, which the company says operates more devices, and supports more smart TV features via voice control. The TVs’ so-called Smart Hub can now be deeply customized using Samsung’s Smart View app, available for iOS and Android devices.

Additionally, Samsung has come up with a new music service interface which corrals all supported internet radio stations and streaming music services into one place, with users’ playlists from all available services displayed in one central place.

Q Style

It would be easy to dismiss this as another marketing bullet point to describe a trim TV bezel or fancy TV stand, but in truth, the QLED TV lineup offers some meaningful innovations, resulting in some of the most sleek and unobtrusive TV designs we’ve seen to date.

Samsung now offers a new no-gap wall mount structure which pulls its TVs tight against the wall, resulting in a much less obtrusive installation. Further serving a super-clean installation, Samsung now delivers all signal to its QLED TVs using a clear fiber optic cable which is barely thicker than a fishing line. From afar, the signal cable is virtually invisible — no need to run it through the wall or paint it. As a reminder, Samsung continues to utilize its One Connect box, which lets users connect all external devices — Blu-ray players, game consoles, etc. — to one box, with a single cable running to the TV. That cable just became a lot less visible and obtrusive.

For those not wall-mounting their televisions, Samsung has created a new stylish floor stand and entertainment stand. Each features a brushed metal exterior and very sleek lines to match the smoothed-out exterior of the QLED lines’ rear covers. A new inverted cone style stand offers a large degree of swivel ability, while a new tripod-style floor stand positions a TV much like a framed piece of art.

QLED Series feature and pricing breakdown

Truth be told, there are precious few differences among the four series of QLED TVs. Most notable are curved designs verses flat (denoted by a C or F in the model name), and varying audio capabilities. Perhaps most surprising is that none of the QLED TVs offer full-array backlighting, meaning all are edgelit. Here is a breakdown of each series with pricing for all screen sizes:

Q7F

Samsung Q7F QLED TV

The Q7F is the gateway into the QLED lineup with a flat panel design and LED edgelighting with local dimming. Available sizes and retail pricing are as follows:

  • 55-inch Q7F – $2,800
  • 65-inch Q7F – $4,000
  • 75-inch Q7F – $6,000

Q7C

Samsung Q7C QLED TV

The Q7C series is a curved version of the Q7F with the same feature set, though it is worth noting the absence of a 75-inch model. Available sizes and retail pricing are as follows:

  • 55-inch Q7C – $3,000
  • 65-inch Q7C – $4,300

Q8C

Samsung Q8C QLED TV

The Q8C series is a slight step up from the Q7C series and does not have a flat series counterpart. Available sizes and retail pricing are as follows:

  • 55-inch Q8C – $3,500
  • 65-inch Q8C – $4,800
  • 75-inch Q8C – $6,800

Q9F

Q9, Samsung’s Flagship QLED TV

The Q9F is the top of the QLED line and represents a bit of a change for Samsung in that its finest TV is now a flat model rather than a curved TV. Some may be disappointed to learn the Q9 does not offer full-array backlighting, but rather sticks to a new edgelighting approach Samsung calls “infinite array” which is meant offer deep black levels thanks to “micro dimming” technology. The Q9 offers the highest peak brightness of Samsung’s 2017 TV lineup at a whopping 2000 nits capable luminance. Available sizes and retail pricing are below:

  • 65-inch Q9F – $6,000
  • 75-inch Q9F – $10,000
  • 88-inch Q9F – $20,000

Frame TV

The Frame

Samsung also announced a new “Frame TV” that is meant to look very much like art hung on a wall or placed on an easel. The lifestyle design enables users to select various bezels designed to look like mated art frames, while a program built into the TV displays stills of various paintings rather than fading to black. Samsung did not offer details on the panel size, but photos seem to suggest it is likely a 55-inch display panel.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Sleek Sound Bar

Samsung also announced a new, sleek sound bar designed to seamlessly integrate with its new QLED TV line, along with an updated Ultra HD Blu-ray player with mobile streaming capabilities. You can learn more about each of these products by clicking on this article.

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