Samsung enters the 8K fray with big screen QLED TVs
Not to be outdone by countrymate LG, which is showing its 88-inch 8K OLED TV at IFA, Samsung has entered the 8K arena with the Q900FN (or QF900R depending on your location). Built around Samsung's quantum dot LCD technology that is designed to better compete with OLED, the Q900FN/R packs over 30 million pixels and features AI-powered 8K upscaling – which is just as well given the distinct lack of native 8K content currently available.
The 8K sets will only be available in 65-, 75-, 82- and 85-inch screen sizes, which makes sense since even Superman's peepers would struggle to notice any difference in picture quality between 4K and 8K on smaller screen sizes.
The Q900FN/R is also capable of 4,000 nit peak brightness – the one area where LCD leaves OLED in the dust – and will support HDR 10+, the new HDR standard. This puts it on an equal footing with Dolby Vision by letting dynamic metadata be included for each frame, rather than having static metadata for the entirety of each show or movie, as was the case with HDR10.
Samsung is claiming the TV's 8K AI Upscaling system is capable of turning just about any content, regardless of source quality or format, to "appear in 8K quality" – that's whether it's coming from a streaming service, set-top box, USB drive, or even if mirrored from a smartphone.
To get closer to the blacks that OLED is capable of, the 8K sets will feature Direct Full Array Elite, Samsung's name for Full Array Local Dimming technology that allows specific areas of backlighting to be dimmed or turned off completely to produce blacker blacks and better contrast. The company also claims the TVs will boast 100 percent color volume.
No pricing details have been announced, but given the cutting-edge 8K resolution and ultra-large screen sizes, they won't be cheap. Samsung says its new QLED 8K sets will be in stores in some markets from the end of September, with the US getting its first taste in October with the 85-inch size.
We got the opportunity to stand a few feet away from one of Samsung's 8K QLED displays at IFA 2018 today, and there's no denying it's a desirable piece of kit. If you thought 4K was about as good as it gets, in a sense you're not far off. But what 8K affords is that crystal clarity on a larger scale. The picture above was taken using an iPhone 7 at about a foot away from the screen.
It's not just the resolution, though. Colors from the QLED really pop and the contrast is very impressive to boot. For a screen of this size it's a very impressive package.