By Samsung Newsroom
Small enough to be held in one hand while boasting a sensational design, The Freestyle has gained attention in the portable projector market since its launch in 2022. Samsung recently released The Freestyle 2nd Gen, an upgraded portable projector that is making imagination a reality.
Samsung Newsroom sat down with Wonki Kim from Lifestyle Team, Seongwon Seo from Picture Quality Solution Lab and TJ Kim from Future Planning Group of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics to hear about the characteristics and development of The Freestyle 2nd Gen.
▲ Smart Edge Blending demonstration video
No Compromise for ‘Smart Edge Blending’
Smart Edge Blending is one of the biggest upgrades in The Freestyle 2nd Gen. The feature seamlessly merges projections from two The Freestyle devices to create a large screen for pictures and videos. By connecting the two devices to the SmartThings app and synchronizing the video output with a photo of the projected screens, users can enjoy a full-screen experience from anywhere.
“Edge-blending is a sophisticated technology that usually requires dedicated hardware and software to manually control each pixel,” said Seongwon Seo. “In line with the easy-to-use concept of The Freestyle, we engineered Smart Edge Blending to help first-time users easily blend screens wirelessly, without a dedicated device or help from an expert.”
▲ Smart Edge Blending can be used through the SmartThings app.
When Smart Edge Blending is activated, the connected smartphone will engage with The Freestyle portable projectors in real time. Content sync and adjustment processes take place automatically via communication between the devices. “Screen alignment can easily be done using the SmartThings guide when a user captures a picture of the projected screen. The analytic algorithm will analyze the span and overlap of the patterns at eight main points on the setup screen and then adjust the projection on each device,” he explained.
▲ The Freestyle 2nd Gen with Smart Edge Blending on display at IFA 2023
Smart Edge Blending was born out of user pattern analysis. “We found that consumers tend to use The Freestyle as a highly portable personal screen in whatever space they are in — whereas the living room TV would be for fixed, communal use. In fact, there were many cases where single households would purchase several projectors,” said TJ Kim. “When you have more than one device, why not combine them?”
By connecting The Freestyle devices, users can enlarge their screen by up to 160 inches and enjoy a 21:9 screen ratio with no further manual adjusting. Speaker capacity is doubled and intensified with the choice of dedicating the left and right stereo sound output to each device to create a more immersive audio experience.
▲ (From left) TJ Kim from Future Planning Group and Seongwon Seo from Picture Quality Solution Lab
“What’s charming about Smart Edge Blending is that it can be expanded not just horizontally but vertically as well,” said Seo. “This feature is even more useful with the rise of vertical content such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Most consumers are used to viewing ultra-large horizontal content at movie theaters but are not quite familiar with ultra-large vertical content. But it’s actually quite nice once you try it.”
Nonetheless, there were challenges during development. The original plan was to only support still images, since video requires extensive computing power and real-time alignment. In early stages, the setup also required a high-resolution picture of the projection as well.
▲ Seongwon Seo from Picture Quality Solution Lab explains how the complex Smart Edge Blending technology was built for anyone.
“It is an extremely difficult task to get two wireless devices to continuously be in sync. While The Freestyle development first started with still images, we couldn’t give up on videos because that’s what more consumers prefer watching with our device. Using a wire to hook up the devices was unthinkable given the highly mobile concept of The Freestyle. We supported the engineers until, one day, they managed to achieve the unthinkable,” said TJ Kim.
“Writing an algorithm that can analyze low-resolution images is a very demanding task — but we felt a sense of relief when we finally succeeded,” he added. “At first, it seemed impossible to minimize the margin of error between the two projections. The strict internal standard doesn’t even allow a single-pixel margin of error. Our breakthrough ultimately resulted from an assumption model that could accurately determine the state of projected setup patterns from low-resolution pictures.”
Staying True to Concept While Adding Fun
Through Samsung Gaming Hub, The Freestyle 2nd Gen supports gaming — a content form that was once unimaginable to enjoy on a portable projector. The addition of Samsung’s cloud gaming platform frees users from the limitations of consoles, wires and fixed screens such as smart TVs and monitors. “Gaming is one of the entertainment types that really highlights the portability of The Freestyle,” shared TJ Kim. “Users can now enjoy games through Samsung Gaming Hub anytime and anywhere, without a console.”
▲ Visitors at Samsung’s IFA 2023 booth test cloud games available on Samsung Gaming Hub with The Freestyle 2nd Gen.
Updates were made for added sustainability. “The light source life has been extended from 20,000 to 30,000 hours,” said Wonki Kim. “With 30,000 hours, The Freestyle can support a demanding eight hours of use per day for 10 years.” The Freestyle’s remote control was also upgraded to a SolarCell Remote that can be charged with sunlight or indoor lighting, eliminating the need for disposable batteries.
Processing speed was revamped too. Compared to the first model, The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s memory has been expanded to speed up signal processing and remote control response. By testing usage scenarios during development, the device’s UI and UX were improved immensely to make the projector accessible to anyone.
▲ Wonki Kim from Lifestyle Team underscores compactness, portability and usability as the reasons behind the popularity of The Freestyle among young people.
Screens Everywhere as a Strategy
With the vision of “Screens Everywhere, Screens for All,” The Freestyle 2nd Gen prioritizes portability and mobility to enable users to experience the benefits of a movable screen.
“Although it’s clearly a hassle to set up, the tripod has become such a natural part projectors — so much that no one thought twice about it,” said TJ Kim. “We envision a projector without a tripod or other accessories. That’s how The Freestyle 2nd Gen came to life.”
▲ The Freestyle 2nd Gen on display in a caravan at IFA 2023
The creators behind The Freestyle continue to dream. “As we work to achieve ‘Screens Everywhere, Screens for All,’ we’re constantly planning innovations around Samsung’s projector lineup — The Freestyle and The Premiere. Our goal is to move beyond simply targeting the existing market and present a new screen experience for everyone,” shared Wonki Kim.
“We plan to continue addressing the limitations of space and strengthen connections among various Samsung devices to generate meaningful synergy,” added TJ Kim.
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By Samsung Newsroom
Samsung Electronics, a global leader in the TV industry for 17 consecutive years, has been propelling its commitment towards sustainable tech through a series of new features. The latest AI Energy mode on SmartThings is a prime example of Samsung’s commitment to Everyday Sustainability. It works by leveraging the TV’s built-in processor and sensors to analyze the viewing environments and automatically adjusts relevant settings to save energy.
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Samsung will take the stage in its home country later this week to unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 foldables. This marks the first time the summer Unpacked event is being held at home rather than in an international market. It’s also the first time the mid-summer Unpacked press conference will take place in July rather than August or September.
I thought the arrival of Google’s Pixel Fold might have scared Samsung into moving up the launch event. But what if Samsung is really looking to deal with the iPhone ticking time bomb at home by looking to launch the new foldables as soon as possible?
Until this year, Samsung has had virtually no competition in the foldables space since the first Galaxy Fold. Samsung could take its time to upgrade the Fold and Flip each year without delivering massive redesigns. But Chinese vendors started putting pressure on Samsung in previous years. And some of those devices launched in Europe and other international markets in early 2023.
The Google Pixel Fold is perhaps the biggest threat to Samsung’s dominant position in the industry despite some of its obvious faults.
Samsung is responding to these threats with the kind of big Fold and Flip design updates we’ve been waiting for. The Fold 5 will be slimmer than before, thanks to a no-gap hinge. The Flip 5 will feature a large external display occupying almost the entire surface of one of the phone’s halves.
Google Pixel Fold smartphone unfolded. Image source: Jonathan S. Geller, BGR On top of that, Samsung set its Unpacked press event for July 26th, the earliest date ever. As a reminder, this Unpacked event used to be the home of the Galaxy Note series. And it used to happen in early September before Samsung detached it from the German IFA tradeshow. The reason Samsung went to early August was the iPhone’s early September launch which would routinely obliterate Note sales.
All that is to say that Samsung might be worried about increased competition in the foldables space. But the iPhone might be the real reason it’s focusing on the Korean market.
The big iPhone problem
Samsung might want to make an impression on a specific category of smartphone buyers in its home market. Per The Korea Herald, a new Gallup survey shows that young adults in the country prefer the iPhone overwhelmingly to a Samsung phone.
The study indicates that Samsung is the main smartphone vendor in Korea, with 69% of adults owning a Galaxy phone. Only 23% of respondents have an iPhone.
But younger millennials and Gen Z like the iPhone increasingly more than Samsung phones. In the 30-39 age group, 41% of respondents have an iPhone. The percentage goes to 60% in the 18-29 group.
Samsung vs. iPhone market share in Korea for different age groups. Image source: Gallup Korea via The Korea Herald This is a major problem for Samsung. These young adults are growing with the iPhone and the entire ecosystem of apps and hardware. Switching from iPhone to Android becomes increasingly difficult the more you use the products.
As a longtime iPhone user, I can attest to that. I’ve been on iPhone and Mac for over a decade, and there’s nothing to make me switch to a different combo. And I was in the 18-29 group when I started using Apple for my main computing needs.
The young adults who bought iPhone over Samsung cited Apple’s premium branding as one of the reasons. They’d buy the iPhone even if the same storage device is more expensive than the Galaxy S equivalent. For example, the 128GB iPhone 14 costs 1,250,000 won in the country, or $980. The Galaxy S23 is 100,000 won ($78) cheaper.
Various Galaxy Fold 4 and Flip 4 foldable phones. Image source: Samsung Apple Pay, which arrived in Korea earlier this year, is another factor that convinces young adults to buy iPhones.
The study also says that 85% of respondents say they are likely to stick with their current brand. That’s great for Samsung in the older groups. But if young adults stay with iPhone, we might be looking at decades of problems for Samsung. Especially if the teenage generation in Korea positions itself in favor of the iPhone. That wouldn’t be a surprise if their parents also use iPhones.
The unsung heroes in this survey are the older smartphone users who still have LG phones. LG is no longer making Android handsets, of course.
Samsung is apparently aware of the iPhone problem. The Herald says the Korean giant opened a flagship retail store in Gangnam last month, branding it a “playground for millennials and Gen Z.” The store is less than a kilometer away from Apple Gangnam store.
Don't Miss: Proton Pass finally lets you save credit card info with a new updateThe post The iPhone is a ticking time bomb in Samsung’s home market appeared first on BGR.
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[Interview] Beyond the Screen: Samsung’s Sound Device Lab Explains How Audio Shapes the TV Viewing ExperienceBy Samsung Newsroom
Sound has the power to transform how we enjoy visual media, from movies to TV shows. Premium audio brings content to life by invoking emotions — complementing what is on screen and sometimes even foreshadowing what will come next. Sound adds depth and texture to the narrative, enhancing the viewer’s connection to the story unfolding.
▲ One of Samsung’s industry-leading anechoic chambers in Suwon is used to accurately evaluate the audio performance for various products.
Samsung Newsroom sat down with Sunmin Kim and Seongsu Park from the Sound Device Lab within the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics to discuss the importance of audio in delivering a superior viewing experience as well as Samsung’s latest innovations in sound and picture quality.
▲ Samsung’s sound engineers explain why audio is so important for the TV viewing experience and introduce some of the latest features based on artificial intelligence (AI).
Bringing Content to Life Through Sound
“Sound plays a very important role in making the content we consume immersive,” said Sunmin Kim, Head of the Sound Device Lab, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. Be it romantic films, funny TV shows or even live sports broadcasts, Kim believes that a majority of the emotional impact from visual content is delivered through sound. “For example, it’s often the background music and sound effects that make horror films more terrifying. If you were to turn off the sound, many scenes wouldn’t be as scary. In fact, you may even find some scenes to be funny.”
▲ “The Sound Device Lab is committed to developing optimal solutions that deliver sound just as artists intended,” said Kim, Head of the Sound Device Lab, Visual Display Business.
“Film, TV and music directors are all artists. And what’s important to me is that they work to amplify stories through sound effects and music,” said Kim. “The goal here at the Sound Device Lab is to deliver content to viewers as the artists intended.”
This can be a daunting task because production and viewing environments tend to vary significantly. Seongsu Park, who oversees speaker development and audio evaluation in the Sound Device Lab, shared some of the challenges his team faces.
“Audio for movies and TV shows, in general, are mixed to a reference level of approximately 85 decibels (dB), equivalent to volume levels found in a movie theater. However, at home, many viewers watch the content at lower volumes. According to our research, many TV viewers reduce the volume to around 60dB, and some even to 20dB, to avoid disturbing neighbors,” explained Park. This means that dialogues that would have been audible in the mixing studio may be indiscernible in the living room. Engineers must consider additional differences in consumers’ viewing environments such as curtains, furniture and other elements that might absorb or deflect sound waves.
▲ “We’ve moved on from front-facing speakers to speakers all around the TV,” said Park of Samsung’s Visual Display Business.
The Sound Device Lab found solutions in the form of hardware and software innovations. From the hardware side, multiple smaller, specialized speakers were introduced to provide surround sound. The software side tuned these speakers to form a balanced audio experience and remixed the sound signals to ensure key sound factors are delivered to viewers.
From Few, Front-Facing to Many, Everywhere-Facing Speakers
TVs are usually limited to their set form factor when producing sound. Recently, this limitation has become increasingly restrictive for sound engineers as TVs have become slimmer from both the front and side. “In the past, huge front-facing stereo speakers were on each side of the TV screen. Current TV designs deny such placement,” said Park. “We were forced to dig deep.”
▲ TV designs have become thinner and slimmer, forcing sound engineers to get creative.
The Sound Device Lab responded to the challenge by developing multiple smaller speaker units for its TVs and placing them away from plain sight. By arranging these units in different directions and coordinating the audio output, the team was able to simulate surround sound.
This technology is further pushed in models that feature Neural Processing Units (NPUs), such as the Neural Quantum Processor found on select Neo QLED TV models, by unlocking features such as Object Tracking Sound (OTS). OTS identifies picture and audio objects on the screen in real time before matching, tracking and coordinating multiple speakers to create a dynamic three-dimensional soundscape.
▲ The latest Samsung TVs utilize a number of distributed speakers to offer a more 3D-like sound.1
To support slimmer bezels and flat-to-the-wall TV designs, sound engineers also had to reduce the physical size of the speakers. Speakers operate by physically pushing out air, so in many cases, speaker performance is directly affected by size. As the Sound Device Lab could not physically enlarge the speakers, it instead focused on the range of movement.
“Let’s say the moving range of a speaker driver is 100. Using 50-70% of that range was considered to be sufficient. To respond to slimmer TV designs, however, we raised that range to 80-85%,” explained Park. “As we fit smaller but more efficient speakers in our TVs, we were not only able to accommodate the slimmer design, but we also ended up improving the collective sound performance.”
▲ A wide range of speakers are strategically positioned in recent Samsung TVs, including up-firing and side-firing hidden center speakers as well as woofers that bounce deep bass off the walls.1
Creating Perfect Balance From Every Angle
While adding speakers resulted in a more immersive and dynamic audio experience, it posed another challenge. Sound engineers had to fine-tune and balance the multiple speakers to achieve a perfect blend of sound. With many speakers operating at differing frequency ranges and all facing different directions, tuning them to work in unison as a single balanced unit became exponentially difficult — but it had to be done.
The effort started with gathering accurate data. In anechoic and semi-anechoic chambers, the Sound Device Lab members measured TV sounds from 323 different points, covering the entire range of TV viewing, for each of the settings until the frequency and volume balance was optimal. After that, they took each model to listening rooms and simulated various real-life living room settings to ensure the speakers were tuned to perfection.
▲ Direct sounds, sans echoes and reverberations, are measured and tuned at a total of 323 points by adjusting TV angles. This is an essential process in tuning each unit to an optimal sound balance.
▲ (Clockwise from the top left) The images represent the following: (1) a graph measuring Sound Pressure Level (SPL) by frequency band at a specific angle, (2) SPL in a specific frequency space, (3) SPL by distance for all frequency bands and SPL by frequency band at an angle from a specific direction and (4) a graph combining measurements from all 323 points. This is the process of finding a “Target Curve” that ensures even sound distribution within the human hearing range, tuning each speaker to deliver excellent sound quality from any angle.
As the global TV market leader for 17 consecutive years, Samsung remains committed to innovating the TV experience. So, what’s next?
“I was shocked when a colleague told me that the volume keys are the most frequently pressed buttons on a TV remote. This signals a clear inconvenience. So, it has become a vision of mine to remove the volume buttons completely from the remote control,” shared Park, expressing his desire to enable Samsung TVs to automatically adjust the volume based on surrounding noise.
“Great technology produces and delivers accurate sound,” said Kim. “We will continue to incorporate our long-running expertise with newer technologies such as AI to create as close a reference sound as possible.”
In the next part of this series, Samsung Newsroom will explore the role of AI in elevating audio performance and sound experiences.
1 Speaker locations may vary by model.
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By Samsung Newsroom
A bigger TV screen is generally speaking a good thing. Over time, larger TVs have not only become more accessible but increasingly popular among consumers. They enable viewers to fully immerse themselves in the content they’re watching, as advancements in film technology now allow our favorite stories to come to life on the screen in more realistic ways.
However, simply having a larger screen does not always result in a hyper-realistic viewing experience. As we enter the era of ultra-large TVs, Samsung Electronics has been upgrading its screen technology to provide the best in-home entertainment. To learn more about these changes, Samsung Newsroom is exploring three key features that make the large-screen experience truly exceptional.
8K Resolution: The Key to Unlocking the Full Potential of Bigger TVs
While screen sizes may be getting bigger, this does not mean that picture quality is better by default. If the size of a TV screen was increased without considering the number of pixels, the resulting image would be blurry, low-resolution and, overall, much worse.
▲ If the number of pixels does not change, image quality becomes compromised as screens grow larger.
In order to improve picture quality, the space on a bigger screen must be filled with more pixels. As such, Samsung’s Neo QLED 8K has four times the number of pixels than 4K TVs. This means that even on ultra-large screens, Samsung’s Real 8K Resolution maintains premium picture quality with densely packed Mini LEDs and upgraded processing.
▲ The Neo QLED 8K offers four times as many pixels compared to the Neo QLED 4K.
While Samsung has been at the forefront of evolving screen trends by leading the era of ultra-large TVs, it has also been innovating the technologies that power them. The two driving forces that enhance picture quality for Samsung’s latest Neo QLED 8K are the Neural Quantum Processor 8K, which analyzes and optimizes content to make full use of the 33 million pixels, and Quantum Matrix Technology Pro, which leverages a plethora of technologies to offer precise control for each of the Mini LEDs.
Neural Quantum Processor 8K: Enhancing the Resolution, Color and Depth With 64 Neural Networks
While Samsung Neo QLED 8K TVs offer best-in-market picture quality, not all content is readily available in 8K. To ensure that every single detail springs to life on screen, Samsung’s Neo QLED 8K is powered by the state-of-the-art Neural Quantum Processor 8K to upscale lower-resolution content in real time. Samsung’s Neural Quantum Processor 8K uses 64 different neural networks to analyze video and optimize image quality. It is trained to recognize underlying patterns and relationships in pictures, transforming low-resolution images into high-resolution by comparing the original set of images to processed results in each neural network.
While higher resolution sources ultimately create better picture outputs, there may be sources that come in Standard Definition (SD or 480p), High Definition (HD or 720p) or Full High Definition (FHD or 1080p). With Samsung’s Neural Quantum Processor 8K, those shows and movies will be transformed into stunning 8K resolution to deliver the most immersive picture yet.
▲ Enjoy optimal picture quality no matter the source with Neural Quantum Processor 8K.
Samsung’s advanced processor also powers innovations such as Auto HDR Remastering, a feature that takes full advantage of the screen’s wide color gamut and incredible peak brightness. AI technology analyzes each scene to make it more colorful and vivid, bringing out the details in both bright and dark spots.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) video formats the display using a wider range of colors with brighter highlights when compared to Standard Dynamic Range content. This means that with Auto HDR Remastering — and the extraordinary contrast powered by Quantum Matrix Technology Pro with Quantum Dot technology — everything you watch is more compelling.
▲ HDR displays a wider range of colors with brighter highlights compared to SDR.
Samsung’s Neo QLED 8K also offers Real Depth Enhancer Pro. With upgraded AI deep learning, Real Depth Enhancer Pro pinpoints where the viewer is focusing on the screen and brings that object into the foreground. With figures on the screen separated from their background, you see a more three-dimensional looking image. Additionally, the Neural Quantum Processor provides a sense of depth paired with incredible levels of detail and vivid color reproduction, immersing you in whatever you choose to watch.
▲ Real Depth Enhancer Pro finds the point the viewer is focusing on and brings the object into the foreground.
Quantum Matrix Technology Pro: The Ultimate Precision With Quantum Mini LEDs and 14-bit Processing
Another critical piece of technology powering the Neo QLED 8K’s picture is Quantum Matrix Technology Pro, which uses Quantum Mini LEDs to dramatically enhance black levels and contrast with precise backlight control.
The Quantum Mini LED is 1/40 the size of a conventional LED. This makes for a screen that is more densely packed with LEDs, improving picture quality while maintaining the Neo QLED 8K TV’s vibrant colors and bright highlights.
▲ Precise backlight control with Quantum Matrix Technology Pro.
To provide the best image quality, 14-bit HDR processing allows for maximized contrast, expressing unimaginable levels of detail in both the brightest and darkest parts of the image. This ensures even the most subtle details are visible to users in every single scene.
Furthermore, Quantum Matrix Technology powers Samsung’s Shape Adaptive Light Control. This feature precisely adjusts backlighting to accommodate what’s on the screen, enhancing the clarity of everything you watch. Because the backlight control is so accurate, this prevents blooming — or when bright light from on-screen objects bleeds into surrounding darker areas. As a result, bright highlights stay bright and dark scenes stay dark with more details visible than ever before.
Expanding Consumers’ TV Usage
In a nutshell, 8K resolution densely fills the ultra-large screens while the Neural Quantum Processor 8K and Quantum Matrix Technology work together to create a picture that is cinematic in the truest sense. Sharp details, accurate colors, precise contrast and a realistic sense of depth allow the Neo QLED 8K to showcase stunning picture quality and captivate viewers everywhere.
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