CES 2021 is here — well, virtually, anyway — but Samsung had already announced its premium 2021 TV lineup ahead of the event. This announcement comes alongside an early look at the Sony 2021 TV lineup and LG’s QNED Mini-LED options, making TVs the center of attention before the event. Let’s break down everything Samsung has announced for new TVs in 2021.
We’ll go big right off the bat. You may have already heard that Samsung unveiled a 110-inch version of its MicroLED TV. But what Samsung has just announced is that it is also bringing a 99- and 88-inch version of its microLED TV into homes this year.
You may remember that MicroLED made its debut as “The Wall,” an absolutely massive screen made of individual modules that had to be professionally installed. Frankly, this was never intended to go into people’s homes, it was a commercial product. But the new 110-, 99-, and 88-inch versions come as a single piece in a box, no pro installation necessary.
You’ll still need a friend or two to get one installed, but this groundbreaking tech with its intense brightness, perfect blacks, and all the bells and whistles you expect from Samsung is coming to homes this year. Frankly, these TVs will be costly, but that’s how this tech goes: It comes out high and the price comes down over time. So what we’re witnessing here may be the beginning of something great in the world of the best TVs.
What is QLED NEO? An Explainer
Now, let’s talk about QLED NEO. That’s the name Samsung is giving its best QLED TVs this year. But, what’s the NEO all about? Samsung explains it as an all-new light source. What that really means, as I’ve determined, is that it is Mini-LED backlight tech, with a few unique tweaks from Samsung.
Mini-LED, if you aren’t familiar, allows TVs to pack thousands more tiny led backlights behind an LCD panel to achieve better control of lighting: That means brighter highlights, better black levels, better shadow detail, and less halo around bright objects on dark backgrounds. We saw this technology come out in 2018, but Samsung has now made it its own, and it will be brought to you under the name NEO.
Samsung hasn’t explained what its product breakdown is going to be, but I have been able to determine that it will not be reserved exclusively for 8K TVs in Samsung’s lineup. There will be two 4K models bearing the NEO moniker.
Premium picture goes with premium sound
Samsung isn’t just boosting its image quality this year, it is also upping its audio game. Samsung is adding more speakers to the back of its TVs to deliver more immersive sound effects and to enable object tracking sound on more models of TVs. Object tracking sound is what Samsung uses to refer to the way in which it tweaks TV audio so it sounds like effects related to action on-screen are coming from the screen itself, from wherever that object is located.
Samsung is also leveraging Q-Symphony sound in more models of its TVs. When a Samsung TV is paired with a Samsung soundbar, Q-Symphony allows the soundbar and TV to work together to enhance the audio experience.
I’ve heard this already, and it is very impressive. Of course, Samsung is still throwing in extras like the tech that detects noise in your room and boosts the dialog so it can still be heard intelligibly as well.
There are still some juicy details that have not yet been revealed, such as complete product lineup plans and pricing — that stuff always comes later — but it does look like Samsung is going to come strong with its flagship Q900 8K mini-LED powered NEO, and feed the aspirations of enthusiasts with its enticing MicroLED lineup. As we have come to expect, it’s an impressive offering from one of the biggest TV brands.
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