[Interview] The Story Behind the Development of the EZCal, an Easy-to-Use Picture Quality-Calibrating App That Transforms Your Living Room Into a Home TheaterBy STF News
▲ (From left to right) Ji Man Kim, Jun Hee Woo, Jason Park, and David Jung, engineers at Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display Business behind the development of the EZCal app.
Ever since the beginning of the global pandemic, we have been choosing our living room sofa over our seat at the local movie theater, our QLED TV over a mega screen, and the convenience of enjoying a film at home over the excitement of a screening in a movie theater.
At CES 2021, which was held in January of this year, Samsung Electronics premiered its EZCal app, which enables you to calibrate the picture quality of your TV to a quality comparable to that of a movie theater for those who want to enjoy that true cinema experience at home. Samsung Newsroom sat down with the developers of the EZCal app to hear more about the story behind how this upcoming app, which helps customers quickly and easily enjoy optimal viewing qualities, came to be.
EZCal: For Cinematic Viewing Quality in the Comfort of Your Home
In August 2019, Hollywood film directors including Christopher Nolan and James Cameron emphasized the need for a ‘film maker’ mode on user’s personal TVs, a mode that would portray a film in the quality that the creator had in mind when they originally produced the content. Such a particular picture quality is favored not only by Hollywood filmmakers but also by experts across a range of fields, including professional engineers of picture quality for TVs, experts from institutions concerning international picture quality standards, and developers of picture quality-calibrating solutions. This ‘film maker’ mode is also known in the industry as ‘creator-intended picture quality’ or ‘picture quality in accordance with international broadcasting video standards.’
However, in practice, this ‘film maker’ mode has often not been able to provide all users with the flexibility they require when looking to enjoy cinematic viewing experiences in the comfort of their own homes. In order to find ways to make it easier for users to enjoy cinema-level picture quality at home, Samsung Electronics developed a way to connect TVs and smartphones using compatible apps that then easily calibrates picture quality using the color data exchanged between the two devices: EZCal.
“The fact that this app need be used only by those who want to use it helped ease the burden in terms of research costs,” noted Engineer Ji Man Kim. “What’s more, the app is easy to operate, meaning that users can seamlessly enjoy the picture quality they desire.”
EZCal stands for ‘Easy Calibration,’ and upon its unveiling at CES 2021 this January, the upcoming app quickly garnered attention for its ability to showcase a creator’s intended picture quality through the app format, and even won the Best of CES Award at the AVS Forum, a forum comprised of industry experts.
High-End Picture Quality: From Measurement to Calibration
Prior to the development of the EZCal, calibrating the picture quality of a TV required a light-blocked room as dark as a darkroom along with a suite of high-end devices. The pattern generator and the optical instrument would first have to be connected to a PC equipped with a picture quality software solution, and the optical instrument would then be placed close to the TV screen so that it could recognize the pattern produced by the pattern generator. The picture quality would then be calibrated using the PC – all in all, this process was a cumbersome one and could take up to two hours if carried out manually. This process also required basic knowledge in picture quality, thereby preventing regular users from even attempting calibration.
“We had to grapple with how to move past the existing picture quality-calibrating framework and integrate it into the users’ experience,” said Engineer Jun Hee Woo of overcoming initial concerns that arose during the development process. “The solution was to simplify each step of the picture quality calibration process and to think of ways to replicate the functionality of high-end calibration devices.”
In order to replace the instruments that would measure the optical data of the TV screen, smartphone cameras were harnessed for the EZCal app. But even then, one problem still remained: the picture quality of TVs could not be calibrated under the RGB spectrum, i.e., a color value acquired using smartphones. “Picture quality for TVs should be based on the colors that people perceive with their eyes,” noted Engineer Jason Park. “This is why we needed the XYZ coordination data prescribed by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). Developing an algorithm that could transform RGB data to XYZ coordination data was key to picture quality calibration.”
The video pattern generator was then changed to incorporate a method of sharing video patterns directly from the TV, and the connection between the picture quality software solution and the PC was replaced by the connectivity of a smartphone to a TV linked via Wi-Fi. “It was through the process of verifying whether the hardware and software of the QLED TV and a Galaxy Smartphone were suitable for the development of EZCal that we became convinced that the complex picture quality-calibration process could be condensed within a single app,” said Engineer Ji Man Kim.
Three Modes for Easy Calibration – to Your Tastes
The greatest advantage offered by EZCal is that you can easily and quickly calibrate the picture quality of your TV to whatever degree you desire. Once you launch the EZCal app on your smartphone, the Tizen app built into your television will begin operating in the background. Then, depending on the detail of calibration you desire, you can select from the following three options: Quick Mode, Basic Mode, and Professional Mode.
As its name indicates, Quick Mode is an option that enables easy calibration within a short period of time. Once you have selected this mode and brought your smartphone to your TV, the camera in your smartphone captures the on-screen video pattern and transforms the acquired RGB spectrum data into XYZ coordination data. “It only takes 15 to 30 seconds to calibrate the picture quality in Quick Mode,” explained Engineer David Jung. “Our focus when developing this mode was on enabling calibration in a quick yet effective manner.”
Basic Mode, a functionality that is one step more advanced than Quick Mode, offers users a wider range of calibrations. While in Quick Mode you can calibrate a content’s white balance within two points, in Basic Mode you can calibrate this aspect within 20 points, and also calibrate the Gamma – which governs the brightness of video signals – and the greyscale linearity – the aspect responsible for the consistency of colors by signal strength – resulting in a more optimized picture quality. Whereas Quick Mode is an option designed to make the movie-watching experience more pleasant for regular users, the Basic Mode has been optimized for movie fans that enjoy being particular about their film’s picture quality,” explained Engineer Jason Park.
Thirdly, Professional Mode is an advanced setup mode tailored for those that enjoy curating sophisticated picture quality experiences. Although Professional Mode requires the longest time for calibration to complete – between 12 and 15 minutes – this longer calibration period allows for color and brightness calibration to be undertaken in even greater detail. “Professional Mode can be used for a variety of situations, whether you are watching movies or playing games,” noted Engineer David Jung. “We recommend that you turn your room’s lights off and use tripods for even greater calibration measurement accuracy.”
Reflecting the TV’s ability to provide the best picture quality possible, Samsung’s QLED TV lineup has consistently received support and praise from its users. Over 20,000 units of the 2021 QLED TV have been sold in Korea in just under two months since its release, a figure that mirrors the efforts of the company to provide users with high-quality viewing experiences at home.
Samsung’s ongoing efforts to provide optimal picture quality experiences to users are what have led to the development of EZCal, which is set to bring about cinema-like picture quality to QLED users that would satisfy even the films’ creators themselves. The team who worked on developing EZCal is proud of the range of calibration options offered by the app; “In the near future, we will see EZCal be used across even more diverse areas,” shared Engineer David Jung. “There is no doubt that its emphasis on genuine media appreciation will expand to serve other purposes, too.”
* Please note that all product and service features, characteristics, uses, benefits, design, price, components, performance, availability, capacity, and other relevant information may be subject to change.
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By STF News
As working from home becomes more commonplace around the world, people are increasingly looking to arrange their workspace so that they can work productively, comfortably and efficiently. But despite our best efforts, sometimes our personal devices don’t offer the capability to review multiple files at once or switch easily between multiple windows as we might require.
This is where Samsung’s high-resolution monitor, the S65UA, comes in. The 34-inch wide screen with 21:9 aspect ratio can help you enjoy a ‘work-from-home’ experience that mirrors the one you have in your office, as you can easily work across web browsers, document files and messenger programs at once – all on one screen.
The spacious desktop screen of the S65UA lets you multitask efficiently and smartly without any extra accessories or clutter on your desk, and its ergonomic stand design lets you customize your setup according to your home working environment. In order to take a closer look at the benefits of the S65UA for those working at home, Samsung Global Newsroom tried out some of its leading features.
Easy Installation and Upcycling-Friendly Packaging
After purchasing new electronic devices such as monitors, we are often left with a plethora of packaging boxes and materials to have to deal with once installation is complete. However, the S65UA comes with upcycling-friendly eco-packaging, meaning you can transform the monitor’s packaging into various practical tools, including objects for your pets and small furniture.
The S65UA’s eco-friendly packaging user manual is also simple to access and easy to use. Simply open up the packaging box, take out the components, and then flatten out the box. With your smartphone, scan the QR code that is printed on the side of the box, and you’ll see a detailed guide to installation. The cardboard packaging box comes with a special dot design that lays out the box’s dimensions in dots rather than centimeters. This means that anyone can create furniture without the need for extra tools to accurately measure the packaging’s lengths.
The next step is to install the monitor itself. The S65UA monitor comes with a stand base, stand neck, power cable, HDMI cable, and USD Type-C cable, so firstly, check you have all the components you need to continue.
The ensuing installation can be roughly divided into two steps. First, put the rectangle-shaped stand base onto the long stand neck and tightly fasten the connecting screw at the bottom of the stand base. When assembling the monitor, all you need to do is just tightly fasten the big screw in the middle. Secondly, simply push the assembled stand base and neck into the back part of the main body, and you’re done. Gently push it upward and you’ll hear a “click” noise, which means you’re all done with the assembly.1
▲ Looking at the dented area on the back of the S65UA monitor, there are 4 additional ports (HDMI, DP, Type-C, LAN).
The S65UA comes with a variety of port types to allow for multifaceted connectivity. Whatever connectivity needs you might have, you can easily connect your monitor to your other devices. In particular, the USB Type-C port can be used to connect portable devices such as smartphones and laptops. With a single cable alone, you can go beyond just connecting the device to the display monitor and enjoy up to 90W charging and fast 10Gbps data transmission for both convenience and versatility.
Customizable Height with an Ergonomic Stand
Productivity can directly be linked to the environment one works in. Even if a device possesses the best performance specs, if it doesn’t match the user’s posture or field of sight, it will become uncomfortable to use after a while. This is why the S65UA comes with a Height Adjustable Stand (HAS), which lets you quickly and easily adjust the height of the monitor by up to 120.00mm (±5.0mm). Simply hold the connecting part of the stand at the back of the monitor and move the monitor up and down to easily and smoothly adjust the height of your screen.
When using the monitor at its highest possible height, you’ll notice that you have extra desk space beneath it to utilize or decorate according to your preference, whether you’re looking for a space to store those extra files or to place some small plants and other flora.
The S65UA also comes with a swivel feature that lets you rotate the monitor to each side by up to 30.0˚(±2.0˚) to further enhance your work productivity. Regardless of which side of the monitor the user is at, the user can rotate their monitor in order to look at the entire screen. This feature also helps you utilize the space you have more effectively. When adjusting the monitor angle, it’s a good idea to gently hold the bezel rather than the display to gently adjust the monitor.
The S65UA monitor opens up more desk space once you’ve oriented it to your desired place, making work productivity and even cooperative work much more convenient. Regardless of how many people are surrounding the monitor, you can quickly and seamlessly peruse the monitor as needed to examine it. Not only does this harness the 178-degree wide viewing angle of the S65UA to its full potential, but it also lets you check the content on-screen instantaneously.
Sitting in front of a monitor for a long time can put unwanted pressure on your body – and a lot of this has to do with our posture in front of screens. If you become used to slouching with your neck leaning forward, the surrounding muscles can become stiff and painful. But thanks to the tilt functionality of the S65UA, you can find the perfect angle to keep you sitting straight and reduce the pressure on your muscles.
Unlike traditional monitors that may have been too tall or too short for optimal viewing experiences, the monitor adjustment capabilities of the S65UA make for a working environment that is more comfortable. What’s more, when taking a break and settling in to watch a movie on-screen for an extended period of time, you can then adjust your monitor some more for the most comfortable viewing experience.
A Wide Screen for All Activities
The S65UA offers a wide screen experience that doesn’t affect your field of sight thanks to its 1,000R display curvature for eye comfort and Ultra-Wide Quad High-Definition (QHD) (3,440 x 1,440) resolution. In addition, the monitor delivers more than 1 billion colors enhanced by HDR10 technology, resulting in true-to-life images and next-level immersion. Whether it’s the dew drops on plant leaves or the small wrinkles on flower petals, the display shows images in vivid, vibrant picture quality, with all colors from light to dark presented without any light blur or clarity obscuration. This creates the best possible viewing conditions for when you need to concentrate on on-screen details, such as when you are playing a game or watching media content.
Those who are accustomed to using dual monitors in the office will find the Easy Setting Box particularly useful. By pressing the control panel button, located on the back of the logo below the middle part of the monitor, you can choose the best aspect ratio from various options whenever you want. Also, Picture By Picture(PBP) shows two input sources on the same screen side by side along with the Picture In Picture (PIP) feature which enables you to open up a small pop-up window within your screen.
Unlike when you have to use multiple monitors to complete a task, there is no need for you to deal with height or color differences across screens, and you can enjoy the near gapless continuity of the monitor’s virtually borderless design for uninterrupted and seamless working experiences.
In order to protect users’ eyes from becoming dry after working for extended periods of time, all monitors from the Samsung 2021 high-resolution lineup come with features that help protect the eyes, leading these monitors to be Intelligent Eye Care certified by TÜV Rheinland, a certification institution of global standards and specifications based in Germany.
New to the 2021 monitor lineup, Adaptive Picture eye care technology automatically adjusts the brightness and color temperature of your screen to one of 42 levels when the environment you are in changes – for example, when your surroundings become darker after working in a bright environment, the monitor adjusts its settings in response to the room conditions. If you’d like to reduce blue light emissions which cause eye strain, you can turn on the special Eye Saver mode by pressing the control panel button. What’s more, Flicker Free technology, which reduces the flickering on the screen to protect your vision, also comes in helpful to maintain your eye health.
In times like this when the home has become blurred with the workplace, the ‘best monitor’ has evolved to become the one that is able to be flexible in response to the user’s environment and delivers the best performance wherever it may be. As well as encouraging you to strike the best balance between work and play while working from home, the S65UA helps increase your work efficiency with ease and comfort.
1 When assembling the monitor, please refer to the user manual that comes with the product.
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By STF News
Samsung Electronics today announced that the HDR10+ Adaptive feature will be supported in Samsung TVs, which improves the HDR10+ viewing experience in customers’ homes regardless of the lighting conditions. HDR10+ Adaptive supports Filmmaker Mode and adapts to brighter rooms so customers can enjoy a true cinematic experience with HDR10+ movies and television programs in any environment at home. HDR10+ Adaptive will launch globally with Samsung’s upcoming QLED TV products.
While viewing HDR content is typically optimal in a darkened environment, customers’ viewing environments may vary greatly depending on a wide array of factors, including room lighting, time of day, and proximity to windows. The HDR10+ Adaptive feature supports dynamic scene-by-scene optimization, following guidelines from the HDR10+ LLC, and can now adjust to any room lighting condition, further enhancing the HDR experience. This feature utilizes the TV’s light sensor and ensures that the screen brings to life the creative intent without any loss of details or contrast. All Prime Video HDR content is automatically delivered in HDR10+.
HDR10+ Adaptive on Samsung QLED TVs also supports Filmmaker Mode, a display setting that Samsung – as a member of the UHD Alliance – developed in partnership with filmmakers, studios and consumer electronics manufacturers. Samsung and Amazon Prime Video teamed up to enable Filmmaker Mode and HDR10+ Adaptive for Prime Video customers.
“We are always looking for new features and innovations that can help improve the customer experience,” said BA Winston, Global Head of Video Playback and Delivery at Amazon Prime Video. “With HDR10+ and Filmmaker mode, Prime Video content is optimized regardless of the viewing environment and customers can enjoy movies and TV shows the way the filmmakers intended.”
More contents are becoming available in HDR10+ with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) and Samsung extending its technology partnership to include even more HDR10+ catalogues and new titles for distribution on OTT services around the world.
“As consumers spend more time at home, Samsung has been looking for ways to enrich consumers’ entertainment experience in the comfort of their homes,” said Younghun Choi, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are delighted to offer smart picture quality solutions that will enhance consumers’ at-home HDR viewing experience, bringing original-quality cinematic experience to our consumers around the world.”
“Samsung has demonstrated exceptional commitment in developing HDR10+ technology and bringing the industry together in support,” said Michael Aaronson, Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution, UPHE. “We are pleased to further expand our partnership with Samsung as we work to bring more titles into this advanced in-home viewing ecosystem to movie audiences worldwide.”
UHD titles available on Prime Video also include HDR10+ so all Prime Video customers can enjoy the improved HDR experience with most Samsung QLED TVs regardless of room lighting conditions.
For more information on Samsung TV, please visit www.samsung.com.
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[Sports on QLED] ② Your Ticket to Enjoying Thrilling, Front-row Sports Action From the Comfort of Your HomeBy STF News
While most of us have had to shift our viewing patterns during this unprecedented year, this does not mean that we have to miss out on enjoying our favorite sporting events in a vivid and immersive environment.
With QLED’s expansive viewing angle, precision resolution, remarkable detail and innovative, lifelike sound, immerse yourself in your favorite sporting events and feel like you’re right back there among the sights and sounds of the stadium.
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