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COMMENT: Samsung Facing Tough TV Market In 2017 As Competitors Challenge Their QLED Technology

At a gala CES TV event in Las Vegas, Samsung chose to exclude several Australian journalists from attending the unveiling of a new line of TVs, dubbed the QLED range at CES 2017.

Desperate to hold onto market share in the TV market Samsung who chose not to launch OLED, due in part to the high cost of setting up production for the top end OLED display technology is now trying to confuse consumers by simply putting Q in front of the words LED to push their own display technology.

In the past Samsung only had one OLED competitor LG Electronics, now Sony and Panasonic as well as several Chinese brands are set to launch OLED TV’s in a move that could isolate Samsung and their QLED technology.samsung-qled-tv-05 (2)

The risk Samsung Australia face is that the combination of several brands pushing OLED as a premium TV technology could challenge Samsung’s argument that their technology is as good as OLED.

Several leading TV reviewers around the world have chosen OLED as the premium TV technology after reviewing LG Electronics offering.

Last night more than 200 foreign journalists were wined and dined by Samsung to spin their latest story.

During 2016, Samsung has been outsold by Hisense in the 4K Ultra TV market over several weeks. Later today Hisense will reveal their latest TV offering.

Questions have also been raised over Samsung’s Curved TV strategy with several retailers telling ChannelNews more flat screen premium TV’s are being sold over curved TV’s.samsung-qled-tv-09

In the new Samsung line-up, there is three QLED models: the flagship Q9F (flat) and Q8C (curved). There is also a Q7 model, which will come in both flat and curved options.

The fact that the Q9F is flat is a surprising move, considering Samsung tends to like its top models curved, but the company has acknowledged people generally prefer flat screens.

The range will come in 55, 65, 75 and 88 inches.

QLED refers to Quantum Dot LEDs. Quantum Dot technology itself isn’t new – Samsung and other companies have been using it for the last few years, but with the QLED series, Samsung has wrapped Quantum Dots in a new metal alloy, which they claim leads to better brightness, colour and viewing angles.

LG, Sony and Panasonic disagree.

The QLED range will replace the existing SUHD models as top dog – a tough act to follow considering the premium SUHD range houses technology that Samsung has claimed is superior to OLED.

Samsung claims that QLED series boasts a lot of improvements however Sony, LG and Panasonic claim that their new OLED offering is a significant step up from LG’s 2016 OLED offering.
Samsung claim their QLED technology is brighter, for starters. Last year’s top SUHD model, the KS9500, could hit brightness peaks of about 1400 nits. The 69Q9F can achieve peaks of about 2000 nits. All three OLED manufacturers have told ChannelNews that their new offerings will outperform the Samsung offering.

Samsung also claims its new QLED TVs can cover 100% of the DCI colour gamut found on most 4K Blu-rays.

QLED also promises to address the greatest weakness in LCD TVs – the backlighting system. Traditional LCD backlighting lights pixels light up from one direction, but Samsung’s QLED panels are structured in a way that can be lit from multiple sides. The idea is to increase the maximum viewing angles and allow you to move further away from dead centre before colour and contrast take a hit.

It remains to be seen whether Samsung’s QLED lighting system is good enough to take on LG’s Panasonic and Sony’s OLED TVs, which have no backlighting issues whatsoever.

Samsung wouldn’t be drawn on prices for the Australian market, but you can expect the new QLED TVs to ship around April 2017.

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