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Samsung Neo QLED TVs promise prettier pictures, better gaming at CES 2022 - CNET

Jan 05, 2022 6:10AM

neo-qled-8k-2.png Samsung This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.

Samsung has long made the most popular TVs in the world, and while the company dabbles in unique models like The Frame art TV and massive, expensive Micro-LED TVs , its bread and butter is basic QLED models. At CES 2022 , the company didn't make any massive changes to its top-of-the-line Neo QLED models, but those televisions, as evinced by the excellent Q90A I reviewed, already presented a compelling high-end alternative to OLED TVs from the likes of LG and Sony.

Available in 4K and 8K resolution , the 2022 Neo QLEDs augment their mini-LED , local dimming backlights with new extras. One, called Shape Adaptive Light Control is said to reduce stray illumination by analyzing on-screen objects and shaping the light to match. Another, called Object Depth Enhancer, employs more processing to further distinguish the objects from the background. In my experience these types of processing enhancements have subtle effects, at best, so I'll reserve judgment until I can review a new model.

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Samsung's new gaming hub for 2022 TVs offers one-stop access to cloud and console games.

Samsung

While the main reason to buy a high-end TV is for better picture quality, Samsung also made a host of other changes to its 2022 Neo QLED and step-down TVs. Here's a quick roundup:

Gaming hub : Launching later this year on "select 2022 Samsung smart TV models" is new dedicated menu section with one-stop access for gaming, whether via the cloud or connected consoles. The full cloud gaming libraries of  Google Stadia , Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik will be available at launch and users will be able to pair third-party controllers to the TV for instant play, no console or other hardware required. The hub will also access to YouTube gaming to follow streamers. Beyond cloud gaming, there's a new game bar with more information available on things like refresh rate or VRR mode, a zoom mode that can expand things like mini-maps and even the ability to pull up a YouTube video alongside a game on-screen -- a boon if you get stuck and need a tutorial.

144Hz refresh rate for gaming: Designed to take advantage of the hastiest video output from high-end PC gaming cards, select TVs will refresh at 144Hz with variable refresh rate. Note that consoles like the Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 max out at 120Hz, so they won't take advantage of this feature, and in any case, the extra smoothness should be subtle.

New home screen: The main home page itself is now full-screen and offers a "continue watching" playlist of movies and TV from multiple streaming providers, as well as curated recommendations. Another section of the home menu allows easy access to Ambient mode, Samsung's feature that displays art, time and weather and other customizable content when the TV is "off."

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Samsung TVs will get a platform dedicated to NFTs.

Samsung

NFT aggregation and purchase: New for 2022 is the ability to buy new NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and display ones you own on the big screen. You can browse and preview an NFT prior to purchase, including analyzing blockchain metadata. The TV can also automatically display settings according to the creator's specifications.

New solar remote with RF harvesting: Samsung introduced solar panels on its TV remotes last year, and for 2022 it adds the ability to recharge by collecting radio waves from objects like your Wi-Fi router and converting them into power. 

Watch together: This feature, similar to watch party apps on streaming services, lets you share viewing experiences with friends and family. It relies on a camera on a compatible device or an optional webcam connected to the TV, and Samsung says it works with TV shows, video games and more. 

Rotating, motorized wall mount and stand for portrait mode: Last year Samsung introduced The Sero , a 43-inch TV with a built in motor that allows the screen to rotate from standard horizontal (landscape) mode into vertical (portrait mode). In 2022 it will sell a mount that does the same with other TVs. Samsung's 2022 TVs will support vertical viewing with portrait-oriented menu systems and a multiview feature that offers apps like TikTok and YouTube in vertical mode, as well as mirroring and casting from a vertical phone. A key on the remote can rotate the TV.

Samsung didn't announce specific series, pricing or availability for its new QLED TVs.

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Mary Brennan

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