CES is usually the big show for television tech. In 2021, it’s somewhat hampered by, you know, no one actually being at the show. But taking a look at Samsung’s early announcements can give us a hint at where they’re headed for this year. and it looks like the company wants two things: really big screens, and really stylish screens.
110″ MicroLED TV
We saw this screen late last year: it’s a massive MicroLED panel, smaller than Samsung’s previous “The Wall” screens, but big enough to dwarf pretty much any television you’ll see at Best Buy. The big news here is that it’s Samsung’s MicroLED tech (which can give brighter pictures and more variable contrast zones, approaching if not beating LG’s OLEDs) will be available in a form factor that doesn’t require a contractor to install in a home. At 110 inches diagonally, it’s under 60 inches tall, and so should at least fit through a standard doorway.
Samsung’s re-announcement at CES doesn’t say how much the 110″ MicroLED TV will cost, but it does say it has an incredible 99.99% screen-to-body ratio (which means that the bezels are all but invisible), that the body holds a full 5.1-channel speaker system behind the panel, and that it can display video from up to four devices at once (each with their own 55″ area). The 4K TV will go on sale sometime in the first quarter of 2021, for an undisclosed but assuredly astronomical price.
The Frame 2021
Samsung’s Frame series of TVs attempts to, if not exactly hide a TV on the wall, then at least let it blend into some stylish modern décor. For the 2021 update, Samsung has made the screens just 24.9mm thick (just under one inch) and they support rotating the display to portrait mode, a la last year’s Sero TV (but without the built-in motor).
Like previous versions, its web connection can serve up a collection of artwork to display when you’re not actively using it, Back to the Future II-style. The new version comes with a Pandora-esque system for recommending artwork based on your aesthetic tastes and adjusting the panel’s settings to best display each piece. The new model replaces a simple light tracking presence detector with active “radar,” boosting brightness when someone’s in the room and saving energy when they’re not. The TV comes with basic voice controls to boot.
Samsung is also preparing a new range of accessory bezels to change up the look of your Frame, including options from third-party designers. Release dates and prices aren’t available for the updated version of The Frame, but its 2020 models start at $600 for the 32-inch screen and go up to $3,000 for the 75″ version. Expect the new models to be in the same ballpark.
85″ Q900A 8K Neo QLED
Assuming you’re not ready to drop a luxury sedan’s worth of cash on a new TV all in one go, the Q900 is probably the biggest and best Samsung TV you might consider buying in 2021. It uses Samsung’s current quantum dot lighting for its panel, but combines it with a new “quantum processor” (presumably a marketing term, not actual quantum computing) boasting a 500% improvement in contrast rations versus the previous Q900 model.
The Q900 can pull the same four-video-sources-at-once trick as the MiniLED above, but with quadruple the resolution all four images will be displayed at 4K. The screen works wirelessly with Samsung DeX (that thing that makes your phone into a desktop computer), boasts a built-in GameBar software feature for managing input lag, and has bezels that are under one millimeter wide. The screen packs in speakers that fire up, to the side, and through the panel itself, as well as two subwoofers.
There’s no mention of release date or price for the Q900A Neo. For comparison’s sake, the 85-inch version of the Q900 from 2020 retails for $10,000, though it’s on sale for “just” $8,000 right now.
Samsung’s new top-of-the-line soundbar packs in no less than 21 different speaker drivers, enabling it to work with Dolby Atmos 11.1.4 surround sound with the included wireless subwoofer, if you can find anything to play that actually supports that many sound sources. (This is one of those products where the virtual show bites hard: I’d love to hear a demo of 11-point sound coming from a single soundbar.)
What if your living room isn’t a perfect rectangular prism? That’s where the SpaceFit feature comes in. It “holistically adjusts and optimizes audio based on numerous variables in a room … detecting the TV’s surroundings including the distance to the wall and the acoustic properties of the wall to optimize audio accordingly, better than ever before.” If you pair the Q950A with a compatible Samsung TV, it’ll even use the display’s microphones to help, or incorporate its top-firing speakers into its audio algorithm.
The Q950A has neither a price nor a date. The Q950T system from 2020 costs $,1800.