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[Welcome to the 8K Universe (1)] Hearing From TV Experts: Charting the Present — and the Future — of 8K TVs Through Samsung’s Innovative TechnologiesBy STF News
Samsung Electronics has been shaping the history of television through the development of its technological innovations, from FHD and 4K through to 8K, thanks to its far-sighted strategic vision and an endless passion to bring new technologies to the market.
In order to learn more about the achievements made so far in the field of TV technological innovation, as well as the future of display technologies in the age of UHD screens, Samsung Newsroom sat down with TV experts.
▲ (From left) Sangmin Lee, Head of the Picture Quality Solution Lab, Hyunchul Song from the Product Development Group and Youngseok Han from H/W Platform Lab of Samsung’s Visual Display Business
Pioneering the Future of TV Through Endless Innovation
These days, picture quality has become one of the most crucial factors consumers consider when choosing a TV. In 1977, Samsung succeeded in the development and mass production of a color TV, the Color Economy TV, for the first time in Korea, ushering in the era of color television for the country. Samsung earned the title of the first color TV manufacturer in Korea thanks to its steadfast dedication to innovation, and the company was never complacent about the colossal success of its black and white TV model, the Econo TV, which took the lion’s share within the monthly TV market at the time.
▲ Samsung’s first LED TV, launched in 2009, wowed the world as a breakthrough in TV technology.
Next to be developed was the LCD TV, and, in 2009, Samsung unveiled its breakthrough model — the Samsung LED TV. The LED TV was the culmination of all the innovative technologies available at the time, allowing for unrivalled picture quality brought about by light-emitting diodes. All components of Samsung’s LED TV were designed anew, and the number of patents acquired for this model exceeded 3,000.
▲ Samsung’s QLED TV made its global debut at CES in 2017.
In 2017, Samsung then went on to introduce the world’s first QLED TV based on cadmium-free quantum dot technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The company’s innovative TV was at the center of attention that year, boasting superb picture quality and 100% color volume.
A year later, the company brought to the market a QLED 8K model that incorporated 8K resolution into Samsung’s proprietary quantum dot technology. It featured Direct Full Array, a backlight technology able to precisely control the lighting balance across every part of the picture on-screen, as well as 8K AI Upscaling, an upscaling technology designed to intelligently upgrade lower-quality videos into vivid 8K resolution, for the first time in the industry. Samsung’s innovative QLED 8K technologies are what launched the era of 8K.
“In 2020, Samsung unveiled the world’s first bezel-less TV that completely removed the bezels from around the display,“ said Hyunchul Song from the Product Development Group. “A year later, we further solidified our position as an industry leader by introducing our Neo QLED technology based on Quantum Mini LED displays. From FHD through to 8K, we have undertaken ceaseless efforts to develop innovative products that offer differentiated experiences based on consumer needs.”
Striving for Superior Picture Quality Through In-Depth Research Into Human Behavior
Samsung continues to strive to offer the best possible viewer experiences by delivering leading picture quality. However, what does “good picture quality” mean to someone who works on its development?
“Picture quality is considered good when it delivers a sense of reality to the viewer that feels as if you are witnessing the images on-screen first-hand,” explained Youngseok Han, a developer from the H/W Lab. “To ensure good picture quality, display performance indicators such as high resolution, high luminance and excellent color expression are essential. What also matters is how well-balanced the other cutting-edge technologies of the display are, including the chip design, the picture quality algorithms and the sound.”
Han went on to provide further insight into the importance of balance to the corresponding picture quality. “The factors that impact picture quality the most are how well you organize the various relevant technologies. These include those designed to reduce distortion and any image transmission noise, those that reproduce colors precisely and richly and create sharp contrast for more vivid, clear images and those motion technologies that ensure the movement of objects on-screen appears smooth and fluid.”
It would be impossible to develop good picture quality with just one singular technology, no matter how great that technology is. This is why Samsung is committed to developing innovative technologies through all kinds of different approaches without resting on their laurels as a leader in the industry. Recently introduced on the 2023 Neo QLED TV, Real Depth Enhancer is one of the new features that has been developed to the end of further improving picture quality.
When human eyes are focused on an object, attention is directed onto the object by optimizing sharpness, clarity and texture, all while also maintaining the background scene. Samsung’s Real Depth Enhancer technology was developed based on an understanding of this human behavior, and harnesses AI to automatically separate an object from its background to create a greater sense of depth and make the images truly pop.
Furthermore, Neo Quantum Matrix Pro technology improves the playback of fine details through precise control of the quantum mini LEDs across a total of 13,684 levels. This meticulous adjustment further adds dimension and a sense of reality to the images on-screen.
“Our Real Depth Enhancer technology is the result of an optimization of all the relevant technologies in a way that takes human psychology into account, instead of focusing only on improving resolution,” noted Han.
From 8K Games to Artworks on Samsung TVs in the Age of 8K Technology
These days, users are being bombarded by new content. Tens of thousands of new pieces of media and content are being published every day across all manner of platforms — but does the same apply for those contents being made in 8K?
“Following the recent growth of 8K devices including smartphones, anyone is able to create 8K content and view it in ultra-high resolution,” said Sangmin Lee, Head of the Picture Quality Solution Lab. “High-performance graphics cards also now make it possible for users to play 8K games, meaning that we are already living in the age of 8K UHD.”
Song further detailed the growth of 8K content in today’s viewing market. “There is a growing amount of 8K content available on social media channels, and artists are creating digital artworks in 8K,” he explained. “We added in ‘YouTube Videos in 8K’ feature to the 2023 Neo QLED TV to allow users to peruse the 8K content available on YouTube and explore digital artworks, such as an image in NFT1 form, at a single glance.”
Samsung is also taking the lead in expanding the 8K content ecosystem by being at the helm of the 8K Association, a global non-profit organization established in 2019 with the aim of establishing 8K standards and expanding 8K content. As of February 2023, the association has 33 members, including Samsung, TV panel producers, SoC chip makers and leading content creators. Last year, Samsung released a teaser for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series in 8K developed in collaboration with Amazon Prime Video, another member of the 8K Association.
Developing Optimal Picture Quality That Takes Viewing Experiences to the Next Level
In order to learn more about the next steps for industry leader Samsung in terms of picture quality in the age of 8K technology, Samsung Newsroom asked the three TV professionals what their goals are.
“As a developer, I feel the most accomplished when I hear the feedback that viewers think the images on-screen seem real to them,” said Han. “My goal is to further improve our algorithms by optimizing a range of components in order to deliver picture quality that is ‘more real than real’ to viewers.”
For Song, creating technologies that bring real value to users is of the utmost importance. “While the development department works to create the best picture quality through technological innovation, I am more involved in optimizing products to bring high-quality experiences to as many viewers as possible,” said Song. “I will continue to deliberate on what other kinds of user value we can bring to our viewers.”
Finally, from Lee’s perspective, the goal is and always has been to provide users with experiences that go beyond simply watching content. “The most important value that a display can provide is to present images that seem more real than reality itself,” explained Lee. “Through the best picture quality algorithms and leading sound performance, the optimal picture quality that is delivered then allows users to enjoy their favorite content without having to worry about adjusting the settings. Our ultimate goal is to offer superb picture quality that enables users to thoroughly enjoy their viewing experiences that go beyond simply watching content.”
Stay tuned to Samsung Newsroom for the second and final part in this series highlighting the role of the 8K TV and the innovative technologies Samsung has been developing to provide the best possible viewing experiences to its users.
1 SAVAGE is a high quality NFT marketplace featuring 4K/8K video and photography. With over 50 titles at launch in March 2023, SAVAGE will expand throughout the year with more than 250 new pieces from top creators and brands.
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[CES 2022] Experts Behind Samsung’s Newest Products and Technologies Discuss Innovating for the Future ①By STF News
We live in a fast-changing world that requires us to be constantly innovating and adapting. In line with this trend, Samsung Electronics’ latest products and technologies propose exciting new directions for various aspects of daily life.
CES 2022 offers visitors and online viewers an opportunity to see for themselves how Samsung has been innovating for the future. From displays and home appliances, to products and services that raise the bar for innovation, the company’s showcase at the world’s largest technology show offers a peek at what our daily lives will look like very soon.
Samsung’s CES 2022 booth is full of eye-catching innovations. But which products and technologies will viewers and visitors absolutely not want to miss? To answer that question, Samsung Newsroom went straight to the source, asking the experts behind the innovations which ones they think deserve a closer look.
In part one of this two-part series, Telly Lee, Vice President of Samsung’s Home Appliances Division and Jungrae Kim of Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display Business will explain how Samsung designed its latest home appliances and portable screen to cater to consumers’ evolving lifestyles.
The Bespoke Kitchen: Home Appliances That Evolve in Line With Users’ Changing Lives
▲ Telly Lee, Vice President of Samsung’s Home Appliances Division and Head of the Kitchen Product Planning Group, with Samsung’s Bespoke French Door refrigerators
Q: What can you tell us about the home appliance products and technologies that are being showcased at CES 2022?
We are going to focus on introducing the Bespoke kitchen, in which refrigerators and colors are unified to great effect. The Bespoke kitchen begins with our flagship Bespoke refrigerators. We’ve expanded the Bespoke range to FDR (French Door refrigerators) in the U.S. market in 4-door and 3-door models. This represents a significant expansion of our lineup following the release of Bespoke refrigerators in 4-Door Flex, Bottom Mount Freezer and 1-Door Column types in 2021.
One unique point of innovation for Samsung’s Bespoke refrigerator is the Beverage Center. Featuring a water dispenser hidden inside the door, the Beverage Center offers a convenient, hygienic solution that enables the fridge to feature a smooth exterior. Along with the new Bespoke refrigerators, we’re also showcasing other vibrant and colorful products that are part of the Bespoke kitchen like oven ranges and dishwashers.
These days, we’re seeing more customers in the U.S. choose modern designs for their kitchens. With Bespoke, we want to show that it’s possible to decorate your kitchen based on your individual tastes with a palette that includes colors that blend in with your interior, as well as accent colors.
At CES, we are also showcasing SmartThings Cooking, a service that introduces connected experiences to the kitchen. With this service, users can receive recipe recommendations and information to help them save time on both prep and cooking. SmartThings Cooking recommends recipes that fit your tastes and dietary restrictions, then builds meal plans to match. As you’re cooking, it also sends recipe instructions directly to synced Samsung cooking devices.
Q: What are some unique or attractive aspects of the new Bespoke offerings that you don’t want visitors at CES to miss?
First, I’d like to underline the expansion of the Bespoke range, which gives consumers who want their refrigerator to reflect their preferences in terms of color and materials even more options to choose from. Since launching Bespoke in the U.S. in 2021, we’ve seen continuous demand for this type of customization. Delivering on this is one of the reasons we added the French Door refrigerator to our 2022 Bespoke refrigerator lineup. The panels come in twelve colors, which means that there are over 20,000 possible color combinations for a four-door refrigerator alone. I am confident that no other refrigerator offers customers this much choice.
Another can’t-miss aspect is the features. The Beverage Center, for instance includes a 1.4-liter AutoFill water pitcher, as well as a Dual Auto Ice Maker that holds up to 4.1kg of ice. What’s more, the FlexZone offers five different temperature modes to keep ingredients like meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables at optimal temperatures. These unique features help bring greater convenience to users’ daily lives.
Users also get to experience an even smarter kitchen with Family Hub, which is included in the latest Bespoke refrigerator lineup. By using the large screen on the front of the refrigerator users can enjoy music and videos in the kitchen and control kitchen appliances and smart devices too. With a screen that integrates seamlessly into the door panel, and with a highly aesthetic design and minimized bezels, the Bespoke Family Hub is capable of blending into any space.
Last but not least, we are introducing the Bespoke Atelier app that we first launched in Korea to the global market. The app offers access to more than 170 works of art from global artists, covering various periods, trends and themes. It recommends works of art and allows you to create your own gallery of sorts by customizing your display to suit your tastes. In addition, when users display an artwork in listening mode, they’ll be able to hear a description of the art with subtitles. This makes it feel like you’re enjoying a guided tour an art museum from the comfort of your kitchen.
▲ Samsung’s Bespoke Family Hub refrigerator
Q: Our way of life has changed dramatically over the past two years, with technology that connects people becoming more important as contactless ways of doing things increasingly become the norm. What kind of impact do you think the products and technologies showcased at CES 2022 will have on people’s lives?
As users have begun to spend more and more time at home, their lives have become more “home-centric”. We expect this trend to continue in 2022. At the same time, concern for sustainability continues to increase on the heels of events like the United Nations’ COP26 conference, and with environmental regulations being strengthened across the globe. With these shifts in consumer lifestyles and interests in mind, Samsung has been working to provide kitchen solutions that are “customized, smarter, and more sustainable.”
Our customized kitchen solutions cater to users who have been spending a lot of time in their kitchen and thus feel a stronger desire to remodel their space to reflect their tastes. By expanding our Bespoke lineup, we are providing a more diverse range of refrigerator types and color options, helping users build customized kitchens that suit both their lifestyle and their interior design scheme.
Spending more time at home has naturally led to a rise in home cooking as well. To help make this easier by making kitchens “smarter”, Samsung introduced SmartThings Cooking, a tailored cooking journey service that does everything from looking up recipes to creating a diet plan and even shops for groceries. Powered by Whisk’s Food AI, SmartThings Cooking recommends your personalized recipe and meal plans based on your tastes, dietary needs and groceries you have on hand. The service also allows you to enjoy convenient one-stop grocery shopping with your favorite grocery retail brands available through the Whisk network. When it comes time to cook, SmartThings ensures a seamless cooking experience while communicating directly with your smart Samsung kitchen appliances.
And with Family Hub, consumers can even utilize this service through the display on the front of their fridge while continuing to control other home appliances from it as well.
Finally, our kitchen solutions are becoming “more sustainable.” Bespoke refrigerators are built for high energy efficiency, and their replaceable door panels help extend their lifespans. Samsung continues to innovate on this front, seeking out ways to incorporate cutting-edge technology into our appliances while keeping sustainability in mind as well.
The Freestyle : Designing a Screen That’s Not Limited by Space
▲ Jungrae Kim of Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display Business proudly displays The Freestyle, a new portable screen introduced at CES.
Q: Could you walk us through how your team came up with The Freestyle?
Ever since the pandemic changed our daily lives, our personal spaces have become more and more important. This is particularly true of relaxing spaces like the bedroom, where we’re seeing more people using products for the purposes of entertainment. We’re also seeing more people utilize cozy and quiet spaces in their homes, as well as increased interest in spending time outdoors – by going camping, for example. We wanted to reflect these trends of our time in our products, and enable users to use them as they wish – anytime, anywhere, and regardless of space limitations. That’s how we came up with the personal, movable smart screen that is The Freestyle.
Q: What are unique points of the Freestyle?
The Freestyle was designed to offer users new levels of functionality. It’s easy to see what sets this product apart just by looking at it. To allow users to carry around every day, we designed The Freestyle to be lightweight, weighing just 830 grams. The fact that you can conveniently carry it with you wherever you go is its biggest advantage.
The Freestyle also features a simpler installation process. All users need to do is place The Freestyle wherever they want, and then turn it on. That’s it. The Freestyle comes with full auto keystone and auto leveling features, enabled by industry-leading technology. The features allow the device to automatically adjust its screen to any surface at any angle, providing a perfectly proportional image every time.
Users can enjoy a seamless and continuous viewing experience by accessing their user accounts and settings for major OTT services. On top of that, we’ve also applied the industry’s first far-field voice control technology. So when the screen is turned on, users can search for content using just their voice. When the screen is off, they can use the device to listen to music or ask for the day’s weather just as they would with a smart speaker.
The Freestyle’s picture and sound quality – the most basic and important features of any display – also deserve a closer look. We applied Samsung TVs’ picture quality engine, and the white balance is adjusted automatically according to the color and tone of the wall that the screen is being projected to. We also applied dual passive radiators to produce deep, high-quality bass. This allows customers to enjoy a cinema-quality sound experience no matter where they are.
Q: In line with Samsung’s ‘Screens Everywhere’ vision, The Freestyle can be utilized in various ways for maximum convenience. What are some specific use cases for The Freestyle?
First of all, The Freestyle can be conveniently set up in a user’s bedroom. While lying in bed, before falling asleep, they can use the device’s integrated cradle to move the screen from the wall to the ceiling to continue watching a movie more comfortably. The Freestyle can also be placed lightly on a dining room table, transforming the room into a new space for entertainment.
In order to utilize spaces like this, our developers came up with a new installation solution that we applied to the product. Thanks to those efforts, users can also utilize the device on a tabletop or floor by connecting it to a standard E26 light socket.1 There’s no need for a separate power supply or cable connection, so it can be used immediately.
For powering it up, The Freestyle is compatible with external batteries2 that support USB-PD and 50W/20V output or above, so users can take it with them anywhere, whether they are on the move, on a camping trip and more. When it’s not used as a projector to stream content, The Freestyle also provides mood lighting effect thanks to its ambient mode and translucent lens cap.
Through close cooperation with Samsung’s MX (Mobile eXperience) Business, we’ve equipped The Freestyle with a button that syncs it with Galaxy devices. With just a push of a button, users can instantly use their Galaxy device as a remote control. They can also utilize mobile hotspots when no Wi-Fi networks are available. We’ve developed this product by paying close attention to even the smallest details, all to make the device just as convenient and easy to use outdoors as it is at home.
1 Light socket connection feature will be first applied in US.
2 Samsung is not liable for 3rd party external batteries.
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By STF News
When it comes to generating the best viewing experiences possible on a TV, a balanced array of technologies and features are necessary to determine the picture quality of a display. From resolution to refresh rates, contrast levels to backlight control and color gamut to upscaling capabilities, all these features work together to create and produce high-quality images on-screen.
Samsung Electronics’ 2021 Neo QLED lineup features technological breakthroughs that deliver immersive and true-to-life viewing experiences like never before thanks to its LED modules on the hardware level through to its upscaling processes on a software level. With Samsung’s proprietary Neo Quantum Mini LEDs, Quantum Matrix Technology and Neo Quantum Processor, users can enjoy true-to-life viewing experiences that are better than ever before.
What’s more, Samsung’s Neo QLED lineup also features an incredibly thin and stylish Infinity One Design.1 With bezels all but erased at less than a millimeter, users can fully immerse themselves into the images on-screen, and given that the Neo QLED hangs on the wall just like a painting, it can blend seamlessly into various interiors.
To better understand how three key technologies of the 2021 Neo QLED lineup work together to enhance the overall picture quality experience, Samsung Newsroom is introducing them in dynamic graphic format for easy comprehension.
Manufactured With Precision – Quantum Mini LEDs
Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLED comes with an all-new form of light source, Quantum Mini LED. A whole new display technology featuring thousands of LEDs that are much smaller than standard LED modules,2 Quantum Mini LEDs reveal accurate and sophisticated image detailing while maintaining precise backlight control.
The secret behind the miniature size of Quantum Mini LEDs is Samsung’s proprietary micro layer technology that mounts micro layers inside the LED itself, as opposed to conventional technologies that pack layers on top of the LED, in order to eliminate unnatural noise among the LED elements and ensure deeper blacks can be displayed without blooming.
4,096 Levels of Lighting Control for Greater Bright-to-Dark Contrast – Quantum Matrix Technology
The 2021 Neo QLED lineup also incorporates Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Matrix Technology, which harnesses enhanced 12-bit gradation for greater control of the light source – the Quantum Mini LEDs. This allows the TV to control its lighting across an astounding 4,096 levels, four times greater than conventional 10-bit displays.3 This also creates even more possibilities to deliver the ultimate in contrast ratio management and deeper shades of black.
But that’s not all. With advanced local dimming control, 2021 Neo QLED lineup can efficiently manage power and improve peak brightness, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker by harnessing unused electric power from dark areas and concentrating it to be used in bright areas. Quantum Matrix Technology takes advantage of the Quantum Mini LEDs’ superb hardware characteristics, all embedded in an LED the size of a grain of sand, and offers viewers sharpness and color volume that is more true-to-life than ever before.
Advanced Upscaling Divided Into 16 Artificial Neural Networks – Neo Quantum Processor
The crisp definition and vivid colors offered by Quantum Mini LEDs and Quantum Matrix Technology are brought to life by Samsung’s powerful Neo Quantum Processor and its AI upscaling capabilities. With 16 multi-modal neural networks running at once, the 2021 Neo QLED lineup delivers smooth and seamless 4K or 8K upscaling that meets the needs of the finest home theaters.
Samsung’s Neo Quantum Processor features AI-powered deep learning technologies that mimic the mechanism of human learning and memory, and the 2021 Neo QLED lineup sees a significant upgrade in this technology as the Neo Quantum Processor has grown from featuring one to 16 neural networks. These 16 different neural networks categorize content based on input resolution, quality and more.
Furthermore, since the Neo Quantum Processor includes dedicated upscaling models to precisely upscale content based on various factors including resolution, edges, details and noise levels, its 16 multi-modal neural networks can upscale SD broadcast content, HD videos on streaming services or even FHD content from Blu-ray disks, enhancing the exact aspect of picture quality needed for each content type.
1 Infinity One Design is offered on QN800A and above. For detailed lineup information, please visit www.samsung.com.
2 Compared with LED module height featured in the 2020 Samsung UHD TV, each Quantum Mini LED is 1/40 the size.
3 10-bit: 210 = 1,024 levels of control; 12-bit: 212 = 4,096 levels.
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[Interview] Neo QLED 8K Engineers Discuss Packing the TVs’ Ultra-Slim Frames With Powerful Sound TechnologiesBy STF News
On a rainy night, a family gathers in their living room to watch a horror movie. Snuggling up together under a big blanket, they push the sofa closer to the TV to maximize the spooky vibes. What else could they do to take their immersion to the next level?
Samsung Electronics exquisitely refined its Neo QLED 8K lineup’s sound system to allow users to take full advantage of their large TV’s audio quality. The flagship displays were designed to analyze both the size of the space where they sit and how they’ve been installed in order to calibrate sound to its optimal settings. The TVs use that information to pump out realistic, object-tracking sound through their eight total speakers. When applied to our ‘family movie night’ scenario above, the TV’s speakers would compensate for when the family’s thick blanket absorbed the tones of mid-to-high registers, and evenly distribute three-dimensional sound from the corners to the center when the family sat closer to the screen.
To learn more about how Samsung’s newest TVs customize sound based on where users place their screen, and how sound has evolved as tool for fostering immersive home entertainment, Samsung Newsroom sat down with some of the developers behind the displays.
▲ (From left) Engineers Jongbae Kim, Sungjoo Kim and Sunmin Kim of Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display Business.
SpaceFit Does Spatial Analysis Daily to Optimize Sound Settings
Today, with more users watching TV in more places, including living rooms, workrooms, bedrooms, terraces and more, both sitting up and lying down, and at different times of the day, our viewing habits are changing. Now, more users are customizing their viewing experience based on their living environment. With this in mind, the developers focused on creating technology that would automatically analyze users’ viewing environments to ensure that they’re always enjoying the best possible sound. The result is SpaceFit, a feature that automatically checks for changes in your living space once a day and calibrates sound settings accordingly.
Here’s how it works. First, a built-in microphone identifies elements that can affect sound, such as curtains, carpets and walls. Suppose the TV is placed in a user’s living room, which features a carpet that we can assume absorbs mid-to-high range sound. In this case, SpaceFit would optimize sound settings to raise the mid-to-high range sound accordingly and automatically. It works the same regardless of whether stands, wall hangings and other elements are changed. If the TV were to be moved closer to the wall, then the space behind it would become narrower, which could affect low frequency sounds. SpaceFit allows the TV to notice this change and adjust its settings in advance to produce clearer sound.
The key point to remember is that all of these processes occur automatically. As Engineer Sunmin Kim explained, “SpaceFit is an automated function that does not require that users press a button, and the device won’t send out a ‘testing’ sound. By simply turning it on or off, the TV will analyze the environment based on the sound of the content that the user actually consumes. So all you need to do is just enjoying what is being played on screen.”
This industry-first technology was made possible thanks to innovations that were based on a myriad of data and AI technologies. From sound-absorbing areas, such as what are referred to in sound engineering as ‘dead rooms,’ to acoustically reflective spaces, the team considered both extremes in terms of viewing environments.
“Since there were so many variables to consider, we built up a sufficiently wide learning database and analyzed it using machine learning technology. That’s where the AI technologies that Samsung developed kicked in,” said Sunmin Kim, who also noted that the feature “can cover almost any typical space in which a TV may be placed.”
OTS Pro Uses Eight Speakers to Produce 3D Sound From All Corners of the Screen
Content is beginning to make use of a wider range of sound channels, and users’ preferred ways of enjoying that content are also changing. As home entertainment expands and both wide screens and multi-channel sources with immersive formats like films become more popular, it’s becoming commonplace for multiple people to enjoy the same content together. The key here is to widen the ‘sweet spot’ – the location from which users can enjoy optimal sound even at the outside edges of the screen. As content grows more varied and screens become bigger, sound, too, must evolve in a way that enhances users’ enjoyment.
Object Tracking Sound (OTS) technology, a feature that tracks the movement of objects onscreen using the TV’s multi-channel speakers, is allowing Samsung to take users’ enjoyment to the next level. Neo QLED 8K includes an enhanced version of the technology, OTS Pro, and adds two center speakers to previous models’ six-speaker setup, for a total of eight. When an object onscreen moves, the speaker located in the optimal spot for expressing the movement produces sound, matching what the viewer sees on their screen. The immersive sound setup enriches the left and right stereo experience and the 3D effect, taking the viewing experience to new heights by making the user feel as if they were standing in the middle of the action.
“Often, when consuming content on a large screen, viewers watching the TV from both sides notice that sound produced at the center of the screen seems like it’s being produced in only one side,” said Engineer Jongbae Kim. “That’s why we added a center speaker between the left and right sides. The combination of the newly added center speaker and OTS Pro gathers sound in the middle of the screen, makes voices clearer, and expresses sound’s position more accurately, without distortion.”
If a speaker were to actually be placed at the center of a TV, it could clash with the overall design concept. The developers solved this issue by attaching a tweeter applied with a wave guide to the rear of the device. “If a speaker were to be placed on the back, sound would disperse in all directions and bounce off the walls, reducing clarity,” said Engineer Sungjoo Kim. “We needed a technology that drew sound toward viewers when they were in front of their TV. Employing a hole array technique enabled us to ensure that sound would travel well from a tweeter to the front of the display.”
The team’s efforts to balance sound also extend to Samsung’s next-generation MICRO LED display. Because the bottom of this large screen can almost reach the floor of users’ living rooms, if users connect their display to a multi-component home theater setup, there may not be space to place a center speaker.
“The 110-inch MICRO LED lineup features a μ-Symphony function, which allows you to use the built-in speaker as the center speaker,” said Jongbae Kim. “This means that you do not have to use a separate center speaker for your home entertainment system because MICRO LED’s multi-channel speaker fills that role. Because sound comes from the center of the screen, there is no sound-image mismatching, and the user enjoys a cinema-like experience.”
Making Use of Each and Every Piece of a Ultra-Slim Design
The Infinity Screen, a unique aspect of Samsung’s TV design, maximizes immersion by making bezels nearly invisible. It also posed a unique challenge for the developers, requiring them to explore how to best mount multiple speakers within the device’s slim form.
“In the past, a duct structure was used to draw the low frequency sound from the inside of the woofer speaker to the outside,” said Sungjoo Kim. “This type of design is capable of generating unwanted noise resulting from air turbulence. So, for the 8K models, we decided to take a ‘passive radiator’ approach that allowed us to produce rich, low-pitched sound. This not only enabled us to use the limited space inside the slim TV more efficiently, but it also allowed us to create rich and pure sound.”
“By exposing the diaphragm of the woofer and the passive radiator on the back of the TV,” he added, “it became possible to visualize Neo QLED’s sound performance in an interesting and intuitive way.”
It’s just one of Neo QLED TVs’ many innovative, out-of-the-box design elements. To help accommodate for panels becoming thinner and thinner, components that used to serve basic functions have been given new roles. “We used part of the rear cover of the TV as an acoustic component that guides the direction of sound to the sides,” said Jongbae Kim. “We also reinvented the design of the ‘slit vent,’ a component inside the rear cover that extends from the center tweeter to the bottom and was previously used to emit heat, to improve acoustic performance by controlling directivity. We utilized each and every part as much as possible, which means that no element of the design is without purpose.”
Delivering Rich, Realistic Sound
The developers have also gone to great lengths to gain a deeper understanding of the content users enjoy as part of an effort to provide better sound performance. For example, when analyzing sports content, they focus on reproducing the sound of the crowd, while for music, they try to create a stable sound stage. For movies, they conduct constant analysis to ensure that dialogue comes from the center of the screen.
“With speaker form factors changing, upmixing is becoming more important,” said Sunmin Kim. “Input channels are becoming varied, and the average number of speakers is increasing to six to eight, which adds up to countless combinations of inputs and outputs.
“Let’s say you’re enjoying two-channel content. Here, instead of sending signals blindly through eight speakers, it is important to understand the mixing characteristics of the content and send each signal separately. Samsung’s unique technology makes this possible using an optimized algorithm that’s based on AI.”
Samsung TVs have led the global market for 15 years running, and the user data that the company has accumulated thus far has been an invaluable asset. As countless families across the world use Samsung TVs, the ubiquity of the company’s displays offers an opportunity to think about what’s next. Sungjoo Kim hinted at what Samsung has in store. “We are systematically building a deep learning network that is based on numerous data,” said Kim. “In addition, we are going to firmly establish our position as a global leader by discussing technologies needed in the mid-to-long term with Samsung Electronics’ overseas AI research centers.”
In response to an ever-growing flood of content, the developers are committed to helping Samsung TVs deliver a sound experience that’s as close to reality as possible.
Screens are getting bigger, designs are getting slimmer, and content is becoming more varied. Keeping pace with trends, increasing speaker channels and doing so in three dimensions, and advancing our AI technologies to allow channels to better correspond to one another will bring us closer to delivering realistic sound. This may ultimately lead us into an era where you do not need a remote control to adjust sound settings.
Look forward to more Samsung TV innovations designed to maximize users’ viewing experiences.
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Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019 Winner: Gabor Gyarmati of Sonic Forces on Multiplayer Game Dev and Emerging TechnologiesBy STF News
We celebrate the year's top performing apps in creativity, quality, design, and innovation at our Best of Galaxy Store Awards. Next in our blog series, we feature Sonic Forces, winner of Best Adventure Game.
Gabor Gyarmati, Product Manager at Sonic Forces, speaks to us about how he got started in game development, the challenges the team faced developing Sonic Forces, and tips for games that stand out from the crowd. Check out Gabor’s advice on developing games to help you on your way to becoming a Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2020 winner.
How did you get your start developing games?
I initially got into developing games through following my brother’s game development company making strategy games for Amiga and PC almost 30 years ago. The next step came after I finished my studies, when I co-founded a development studio with my brother back in Hungary. Later on, I joined the online gaming space and spent the last 12 years developing free to play games for various PC, console, and mobile platforms.
Please tell us about Sonic Forces: Speed Battle.
Sonic Forces is a super-fast paced, multiplayer runner game. Players collect their favourite characters from the Sonic universe and dash through the tracks jumping and dodging obstacles, enemies, and traps. Players compete against up to 3 other players from around the world in a single-speed battle. Sonic Forces includes regular content and feature updates. The game runs an ever-changing live event schedule that offers something new and exciting such as themed events, special characters, and more. Oh, and this is all available to play for free.
What was the development process like for Sonic Forces? What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Sonic Forces started off with a very small team focused on making a prototype that would prove whether the game could work from a technical perspective and whether we could make it fun. We succeeded in proving this pretty quickly. Then it became a question of making sure that we kept what made the prototype fun as we built it out into a full game. We also developed good tools very early on that allowed us to rapidly build and test tracks, which was a big help when it came to development and iteration.
In terms of challenges, one of the biggest is always keeping the game balanced. Since Sonic Forces is a true competitive, multiplayer game, we spend a lot of time and focus facilitating an ongoing, iterative cycle to keep the game fair for all players. This includes tweaking the stats of characters, their powers, the tracks, etc. and feedback from our player community is incredibly valuable in this respect.
What do you think has made Sonic Forces such a successful game?
I think that there are several components that have contributed to Sonic Forces’ success. As a Sonic game, the characters, the environments, the music, and the core gameplay certainly resonate with the Sonic The Hedgehog fanbase. However, Sonic Forces also has a unique competitive multiplayer element that provides a short and sweet adrenaline boost, which is a great match for the playstyle of casual, competitive, mobile players. On top of this, Sonic Forces runs a lot of attractive live events and new content updates, which has helped to drive a very loyal and engaged player base to keep returning to the game for over 2 years now.
What is the most important thing to consider when building games for Samsung?
The most important thing is a strong focus on delivering regular high-quality updates, features, events, and new content. This can help Samsung as a platform provider showcase quality games that are popular with their community, while also helping keep players engaged over the long term.
How do you create games that stand out from the crowd?
We have a very talented team that comes from a variety of different development backgrounds across handheld, console, and PC platforms. The team has many years of experience in mobile games with live operations. We utilize our cumulative experience, from both our successes and challenges along the way, and this has enabled us to create new and exciting gameplay that’s based on solid learnings.
When designing a game, what is the most important UX consideration?
The most important UX consideration, for me, is to keep the core gameplay easy and fun, especially if you are developing a game that will be played by a younger audience on a mobile platform. I have a young son and I like to see him start and play the games without needing any instructions. If the game passes this test, I know players will be able to play it intuitively.
What guidance do you have for new developers looking to develop successful games?
My advice is to do thorough research before starting any development, know who the game’s audience will be, and design a fun experience that can be scaled and expanded over time. Have your ideas, prototypes, and later versions tested by friends, and then by actual players in order to get valuable early feedback. If you plan to develop a free-to-play game, make sure to plan ahead for delivering a long-lasting experience and develop tools that will allow you to grow and maintain live operations in the future.
How do you think game development will change in the next few years? Are there emerging technologies you are keeping an eye on?
With the arrival of super-fast internet, cloud gaming, and rapidly growing hardware capabilities, the mobile market is transforming to become the most versatile platform for gaming. This brings a lot of potential and new opportunities for big IP games that previously only appeared on consoles to thrive on mobile platforms.
How has working with Samsung helped your business?
Working with Samsung continues to be a great experience for our studio. We’ve found the Samsung editorial team to be very easy to work with, and their continuous support has made it possible for Sonic Forces to receive great exposure on Galaxy Store. This helps not only to drive an increase in new installs, but we’ve also found that the players discovering Sonic Forces through Samsung’s platform tend to be very engaged in and committed to the game. We love seeing how they interact with the gameplay and contribute to the growing Sonic Forces community.
Thanks to Gabor Gyarmati of Sonic Forces for sharing his insights on how to develop successful games and emerging opportunities to watch for in the next few years. Follow @samsung_dev on Twitter for more developer interviews and tips for building games, apps, and more for the Galaxy Store. Find out more about our Best of Galaxy Store Awards.
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