Last night, Samsung unveiled its range of brand-spanking-new Super Ultra High Definition (SUHD) TVs at a swanky event in Johannesburg.
The TVs will soon hit South African retail, and Samsung is offering a nice incentive for anyone with enough money to pre-order one of them: a free Galaxy S7. Nice. Samsung didn’t, however, say how much these new TVs are; looking at overseas prices of just under 5 000 US dollars for some models – that’s about R80 000 now – we can’t imagine they are going to be cheap.
Samsung’s reps also boasted about how the company has been the top TV brand in South Africa for the last ten years, and we can’t fault them there – Samsung has long been putting out some pretty decent televisions, and they’ve been aggressive enough on pricing that they’ve managed to appeal to the notoriously price-conscious South African consumer, so kudos to them.
But you’re probably wondering what makes these new TVs not just UHD televisions, but Super UHD televisions, and how that could possibly justify the price.
The quick explanation is they produce nicer-looking colours than non-super UHD TVs do. They still use the same UHD resolution – 3840 x 2160 – so the Super bit isn’t about sharpness (and UHD is already pretty darn sharp), but Samsung has used something called “Quantum Dot” technology in the backlighting of the screen that gives them tighter control over the intensity of every colour, and a new implementation of HDR called HDR 1000 that we were told allows for higher brightness levels.
Here’s a quick video explaining Quantum Dots from the US’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging:
Samsung has used this technology in the backlighting of what are still LED/LCD screens. As Wikipedia puts it, “At present, they [quantum dots] are used only to filter light from LEDs to backlight LCDs, rather than as actual displays”.
Samsung’s SUHD TVs can display more colours than non-quantum-dot TVs can. Non-SUHD TVs can display 256 shades of red, green and blue each for a total colour count of 16.8 million (256 x 256 x 256), but these newer panels can do 1024 shades per colour, meaning they’re capable of displaying over a billion colours (1024 x 1024 x 1024).
The result is incredibly life-like on-screen imagery; I can confirm I was impressed with what I saw of the TVs at the launch, but of course that was close to ideal circumstances as it was, after all, Samsung’s event.
Expect to see Samsung’s new SUHD TVs appearing on store shelves soon.