Samsung just unveiled its 2018 lineup of QLED 4K TVs at an event in New York City. The company remains the world’s leading TV maker, and while this year’s sets make modest improvements to picture quality mainly black levels the major focus is intelligence and smart home control. The new QLEDs (never, ever to be confused with OLED) ship with Bixby and offer voice assistant capabilities right out of the box. And they also act as a centralized hub for Samsung’s SmartThings smart home platform, giving you on-screen control over all SmartThings-compatible gadgets.The 2018 QLED lineup includes the Q9, Q8, Q7, and Q6 (in descending order of price and image quality). Samsung still hasn’t given up on pushing curved TVs, as each series will be sold in both flat and curved versions. Pricing details aren’t yet being disclosed for the new QLEDs, but they’re scheduled to begin shipping within the next few weeks so it shouldn’t be much longer.
All new QLEDs have an “Ambient Mode” that uses your phone to capture a photo of the environment behind it, and then creates a matching look on screen. This effect was previously seen on Samsung’s Frame TVs, but now it’s expanding to the QLED line. Aside from the nice look, Ambient Mode will also display temperature, news headlines, personal photos, and other information. It basically turns Samsung’s QLED into a smart display when not in use. You’re not looking at some transparent display; the TV just creates shadows and other effects to make it seem that way.
The TVs can also act as a hub for Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem of connected gadgets like cameras, thermostats, lights, and so on. The company has recently simplified its approach to the smart home by bringing everything together under a single mobile SmartThings app.