Samsung is showcasing its new advanced TVs for 2023 at CES. In addition to the previously discussed expensive Micro models Which will also be available in smaller screen sizes this year Samsung is also showcasing two new QD OLED TVs, the S90C and S95C, the top models of its 8K and 4K LCD series, the QN900C and QN95C NEO QLED TVs. The lower-end QLED models were not shown at CES and not much is known about these TVs.
The new 2023 models use Tizen 7.0 as the operating system. Although the interface doesn’t seem to have changed dramatically compared to last year, Samsung has added a number of new features. For example — at least for the now announced TVs — it’s equipped with an integrated SmartThings Hub with Zigbee and Thread radios and Matter support. This means that the new TVs can act as a hub in the smart home. Also new is support for 144Hz refresh rates. Last year’s high-end models were already capable of doing this in practice, but Samsung is now officially putting it on the spec lists. In addition, Samsung is adding support for HDR10 + Gaming. This extension of the HDR10+ standard ensures that your TV communicates with your PC or console around the maximum screen brightness, after which the source adjusts its signal according to the optimal HDR experience. HDR10+ Gaming will initially only be supported by Nvidia video cards, but Samsung says more announcements will follow soon, including for consoles. What Samsung unfortunately doesn’t have is Dolby Vision, which is a real shame given the popularity of this HDR format with all the major streaming services.
Double QD OLED
The S95B QD OLED, which was introduced in April last year, will get two different successors this year and will now also be available in 77-inch sizes as well as 55-inch and 65-inch. The model names of all 2023 models end in the letter C, while the new OLEDs bear the type designation S90C and S95C. Although the naming suggests otherwise, the S90C is actually the successor to the S95B from 2022, while the S95C appears to be positioned slightly higher and therefore also likely to command a higher price. Perhaps, because Samsung has not yet announced the prices for the new TVs.
The S95C has a completely different design than last year’s S95B. Unlike the S95B, the TV has One Connect Box, which is an external box that contains the power supply and all connections, and is connected to the TV screen with a single thin cable. The One Connect Box in the S95C can be mounted on the back of the TV base, but you can also hide it in an audio cabinet. The advantage is that in this case only one cable runs to the TV for power and a media signal, rather than several HDMI cables and a separate power cable. Because all the logic is in the One Connect Box, the monitor itself is very thin and can be hung completely flat on a wall.
Not only is it remarkable that the S95C now has a One Connect Box, but also that the top model of the QLED 4K range, the QN95C, no longer has a One Connect Box. Last year, Samsung placed the top-of-the-line 4K QLED model above the S95B QD OLED, but this year, due to the One Connect Box change, that may change as well in terms of pricing.
The main achievement of the S95C is that it has a second-generation QD OLED panel, in which Samsung Display has succeeded in increasing the efficiency of blue OLED screens, which increases the brightness of the TV as a whole. QD OLED screens use only blue OLED screens, with a portion of the sub-pixels equipped with quantum dots that convert blue light into green and red light.
It is not entirely clear from the available connections how exactly this improvement occurred in OLEDs. in Samsung Display press release He talks about a new “HyperEfficieny EL” material that will be responsible for improving brightness. Samsung Display claims the new panels achieve a maximum brightness of 2,000 cd/m². This is undoubtedly the color temperature of the painting. Initial measurements from HDTVtest show brightness after calibration to be around 1,300 cd/m2, a marked improvement over the nearly 1,000 cd/m2 achieved by last year’s S95B. However, full-screen brightness does not appear to have increased, if at all, although it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions based on these initial tests with early devices. However, Samsung’s new QD OLEDs and new woleds seem to be with Precision lens group from LG Display will be evenly matched when it comes to brightness.
Samsung showed last year’s S95B and 2023’s S95C side by side in a session behind closed doors. It was very evident that the new TV was brighter in the highlights than its predecessor. This will be partly because of the new panel, but probably also because Samsung has improved HDR tone mapping this year. Of course we have to keep in mind that we don’t know how both TVs were modified. What’s also amazing is that the S95C suffers less from annoying glare, thanks to a new anti-reflective coating.
Although the S95C is quite thin, the TV packs a wide-range sound system with six mid/high speakers behind the screen and no less than eight subwoofers. We couldn’t listen to the TV, but given the small thickness, we’d be surprised if these soundbars could achieve great bass reproduction. As with TVs from previous years, the TV can work with some Samsung speakers, where the TV’s speakers are used in conjunction with the tweeters to create a more spacious sound picture.
The S90C QD OLED TV is very similar to last year’s S95B. The design is almost the same. The only difference we could find is that the flat feet that crease behind the screen now turn into two feet with a gap between them, whereas the S95B has feet that are completely enclosed. The back of the TV also seems to have a slightly darker color, otherwise both models are similar in appearance.
The S90C uses connections on the back of the TV itself, and just like last year’s S95B, the TV doesn’t have an external One Connect Box. It is not clear which board contains the S90B, we have heard different voices about it. One speaker said the S90C would be less bright than the S95C, while another disagreed. But since there is only one factory where Samsung Display produces OLED panels for TVs and the S90C will also be available in the new 77-inch picture size, it is unlikely in any case that Samsung will continue to produce two generations of panels side by side. The S90B will receive the latest version of Tizen anyway, so it will also get a SmartThings hub with Zigbee, Thread, and Matter support.
QN95C New QLED
In our review of the QN95B QLED TVs last year, we wrote that we think it’s one of the best TVs if you mainly watch TV in a room with a relatively high amount of ambient light. The TV produces a very clear picture and thanks to the mini LED backlighting with 720 zones in the case of the 55-inch version, the contrast is also excellent. The main improvement to the new QN95C is that it has “twice the number” of local dimming zones. The exact number of zones varies, as with last year’s models, depending on screen size, but the 55-inch QN95C probably has about 1,400 zones.
During a demo behind closed doors, Samsung showed the QN95B and QN95C side-by-side with shots in which very bright elements appear against a dark background: the Achilles’ heel of LCD TVs with local dimming, where fast blooms can be seen. With this head to head, it was clear that the new TV’s local dimming was further improved and the QN95C also seemed to lose less shadow detail due to excessive dimming. According to Samsung, the brightness of the new QN95C is no higher than last year’s model, and the improvement in image quality is mainly due to the number of dimming zones.
Image processing has also been improved for Samsung’s 2023 models, according to its own statement. We’ve been hearing buzzwords like AI and machine learning from all manufacturers for years, and Samsung also claims to be making better use of these technologies again this year. For the 2023 models, this resulted in a new algorithm that turns SDR images into pseudo-HDR images. We dare not say how successful this will be, we just haven’t seen the technology in action yet.
8K TVs also for sale in the EU?
Samsung also showed off the QN900C, the new top model in the 8k qled line. This TV also benefits from the new 2023 platform and the demos for the TV looked very good. However, it is not clear if the new 8k TVs will be available in all screen sizes in the European Union. It is difficult for 8K TVs to comply with the new energy regulations that come into effect from March. Since 8k TVs have smaller pixels compared to 4K models of the same size that let in less light from the backlight, power consumption is higher. Especially for smaller image sizes where the new rules are quite strict, compliance with this can become an issue.
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