Above: Samsung’s JH Han, President and Head of Visual Display Business, introduces The Wall. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.
Las Vegas, Nevada: At an event on the night before CES formally begins, Samsung hosted its debut First Look event, introducing its innovations to televisions for 2018.
The big reveal, both strategically as well as physically, was the company’s new 146 inch AI-driven Smart TV, bluntly named The Wall (Samsung introduced an 110 inch model in 2013).
Beyond its intimidating diagonal measurement, the screen was probably the first home viewing device to ever tower with such intimidating authority over the huddle of media guests invited for the exclusive look.
The Wall is the Goliath device that leads a new Samsung assault on its competitors in the market space and it’s one that targets 4K as the low-end and ambitiously introduces 8K definition,
All of the new screens – Samsung pointedly does not refer to them as televisions – incorporate new artificial intelligence powered upsampling from any source, though the difference between previous technologies and the new algorithms doesn’t show up as obviously on crude SD quality material. Recordings in 720p and up show more obvious improvement.
The company also introduced display improvements driven by a new Micro LED design that packs in more display power per square inch on the new screens.
Screens intended for embedding in IOT devices offer different advantages and are managed by the Bixby digital assistant to different degrees, but with a clear focus on building a viable response to the increasingly pervasive presence of digital assistants from Google and Amazon.
In addition to building more smarts into its hardware, Samsung is developing important strategic relationships with popular services.
Also announced were new gaming screens designed to intelligently upscale Xbox games to 4k and deep integration with Amazon on a growing selection of movies from the content provider in HDR10+ format, which brings increased dynamic range as well as 4k resolution to streaming content.