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Samsung experts say 2018 QLED TV’s blacks may be different, but still ‘perfect’
Source: Song Su-hyun

SUWON, Gyeonggi Province -- Can Samsung’s backlight-based QLED TVs offer blacks as deep as self-emissive OLED TVs?

Jang Sung-hwan, principal engineer at the picture quality lab of Samsung Electronics’ visual display business, confidently says “yes” in response to the question, explaining that “the latest QLED TVs provide blacks with the best quality ever” in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

Jang and three colleagues from the lab -- Lee Sang-min, Lee Bong-geun and Ahn Tae-gyoung -- joined the interview to discuss how artificial intelligence can further improve the picture quality of TVs to provide lifelike images.

Other engineers may not agree when delving deeper into the technicalities, but the 2018 QLED TVs featuring the artificial intelligence-powered Q Engine processor produce blacks that are indistinguishable from those on OLED TVs by ordinary consumers, Jang said.

“This year’s QLED TVs have significantly improved black levels while providing stronger brightness,” he said. “It is difficult to say technologically QLED TVs offer blacks that are identical to OLED TVs’ blacks due to the existence of backlights, but consumers would find no difference in the blacks on QLED and OLED TVs.”
From left: Principal Engineers Lee Bong-guen, Jang Sung-hwan, Ahn Tae-gyoung and Senior Engineer Lee Sang-min of the picture quality lab pose at Samsung Electronics’ visual display business’ head office in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. (Samsung Electronics)

This is because Samsung has applied three technologies trademarked as Ultra Black Elite to produce self-proclaimed “perfect black” for the latest QLED TV lineup. They are the improved prism pattern layer, black algorithm (scene by scene dimming control) and anti-reflection. Combined, they read black signals and automatically adjust to offer optimal levels of blackness.

Along with the technologies to create deeper blacks, the Q Engine processor adopted in QLED TVs may be a game changer for the emerging AI TV market, as it restores any low quality images to 4K and 8K levels in order to offer lifelike content.

“What differentiates this year’s QLED TVs from the previous models is the Q Engine,” said Lee Sang-min, a senior engineer at the lab. “Designed and developed for the past four years, the engine is superior to any other TV SoCs (systems on chip) in terms of noise reduction and pre- and post-detail processing.”

“All manufacturers claim that their AI processors automatically adjust colors according to types of content, but that’s not enough to be called AI TVs, according to our internal studies,” Jang said.

Samsung’s AI processor for TVs is designed to convert any level of image quality into better levels through upscaling and clarity mastering technologies.

“The key part of this technology is that it detects the number of active image signals of input content for accurate processing,” said Lee Bong-geun, another principal engineer on the team. “Our AI processor enables detecting information of original image sources, including the shooting information and technology.”

“By adding more and more machine learning algorithms, we are enhancing the Q Engine for more sophisticated picture quality,” Lee said.

Upcoming AI TVs will not only analyze resolution of input images but also study and create optimal picture quality itself based on millions of database, truly become a intelligent display, added Ahn Tae-gyoung, principal engineer, to his colleagues’ comments.


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