CES, the year’s biggest tech show, may feel completely different these days with all the self-driving car tech, but one thing you can always count on wowing are huge TVs. Like really big ones.
Samsung kickstarted CES 2018 with a massive 146-inch 8K TV it’s calling “The Wall.” Yeah, it’s a wall, alright.
Think of it as the next evolution of the many display technologies TV makers have been ramming down our throats over the years. First it was LED, then OLED, then Quantum Dots, and now it’s Micro LED.
As with all previous TV acronym tech, Samsung’s touting Micro LEDs as the next leap for picture quality.
All Samsung TVs with Micro LED tech, including The Wall, will be noticeably brighter and have better contrast. That means colors should look even better, especially when viewing HDR (or HDR10+) content.
I took a good hard look at The Wall and, yeah, the picture looks really good. But so did last year’s QLED TVs. The differences are going to be virtually impossible to distinguish to the naked eye unless you’ve got a non-Micro LED TV next to The Wall.
I’m less excited for the Micro LED TV than I am for the built-in AI technology that Samsung claims will intelligently upscale non-8K resolution content to 8K in full crispy glory.
Samsung says the built-in AI chip, which connects to a content data base in the cloud, uses an “adaptive restoration process that characterizes content and extracts features to create pristine 8K images.”
In other words, it’s adding just another fancy term for a proprietary upscaling technology. Samsung says the AI chip corrects details, reduces image noise, and sharpens the edges of objects and text.
On one Wall TV, Samsung showed a low-res video in 480p upscaled up to 8K and it really did look sharper in every way. But again, this was demo, and until we see how this 8K upscaling works on real content, the jury’s still out.
Samsung’s packing a lot of other technology into its new 2018 TVs, including Bixby voice controls (LOL) and HDR10+ support for Xbox One X.
Another special thing enabled by Micro LED technology is modularity — well, in theory. Touted as the world’s first modular TV, Samsung says Micro LEDs opens the door to creating TVs in any resolution with any aspect ratio you want. That’s the dream, but there are no plans to let customers build their own custom-sized TVs.
Like many of the big, ambitious 8K TVs that’ll be unveiled at CES, there’s no word on pricing. Bet your ass it’ll cost a fortune, though, when it ships sometime this year.