Samsung kicks off CES 2022 doing what Samsung does best — taking its line of many televisions, already great in their own right, and kicking things up yet another notch. Smarter, brighter, better, easier to use — all the things that make a TV more than a TV in an era in which we’re spending more time in front of the TV than ever.
On the front side of things is a new home screen, “a testament to our vision for the future of TVs.” Samsung is paring things down to three main hubs — a Media Screen, a Gaming Hub, and Ambient Mode. They’re mostly self-explanatory. If it’s something you’re going to watch (via Samsung’s built-in apps, anyway), you’ll get to it from the Media Screen. The Gaming Hub gets you into your cloud-based gaming services and consoles and works with existing third-party controllers and headsets. And the Ambient Mode makes it easier than ever to have something pleasant on the screen when you’re not actively watching or playing something. That includes art, or photos, or even NFTs, because it’s 2022 and it’s all about non-fungible tokens, apparently.
The Frame remains Samsung’s showpiece TV, meant to look as great when you’re not watching a movie or show as it does when it’s displaying art. It gets a new “Art Store” user experience that is exactly what it sounds like — making it easy to show all sorts of art on The Frame on a regular basis. It’s got a new anti-reflective display the company claims makes art look even more realistic than ever, and new sizes mean you can go from 32 inches all the way to 85 inches — whatever your wall and your wallet can handle.
The 2022 line of Neo QLED models packs all kinds of mini-LED tech into 4K and 8K sets, and all-new Shape Adaptive Light Control. Brightness is now more accurate and revealing of detail, having been bumped up from 12 bits to 14 bits (more is better), and there’s a new Object Depth Enhancer feature that uses the processor to analyze what’s on-screen and help make the subject more distinguishable than the background. We’ll have to get in front of that to see if it’s the equivalent of a phone’s portrait mode, or if it’s something more subtle.
The Neo QLEDs also ramp things up in the audio department with features like Active Voice Amplifier, Object Tracking Sound, and SpaceFit Sound. And if you’re using a Samsung Q950B Soundbar, it’ll pair with the TV’s speakers for an even better surround sound experience.
On the MicroLED front, expect a bezel-free experience at massive, customizable sizes all the way up to 178 inches, at which point we’re probably better off measuring the screen in terms of acres. Pre-made models include 99- and 110-inch options, as well as a new 89-inch model. There’s a 10% wider color space on paper, thanks to the 24.9 million micro-sized LEDs. And the MicroLED sets feature Dolby Atmos and Samsung’s own Object Tracking Sound Pro feature, which projects audio according to what’s on-screen.
And in the hand we’ve got a new remote control. The updated “Eco Remote” uses a “recycled material design,” and includes solar and RF harvesting for a “battery free experience.” Never mind that there almost certainly is a battery in there, it’s just that you won’t ever have to think about it. If it’s getting some light, the solar side of things goes to work. If not, the RF converter takes over. And it’ll now be available in white as well as black. It’s also light on buttons, if you’re the sort who wonders why a numerical set still exists in the 21st century.
Finally, let’s circle back to the NFT thing. Samsung has built what it says is the world’s first television screen-based NFT explorer and aggregator, so you can preview, purchase, and then view an artistic NFT right there on your TV. If that’s your sort of thing.