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What is Samsung SUHD and Quantum Dot technology?

At CES 2015, Samsung unleashed its first SUHD TV sets. But what does this mean? 

Is SUHD a higher resolution than 4K? Does the ‘S’ stand for Super, like Netflix’s Super HD? Or is it another Samsung marketing gimmick whereby they’ve slapped the letter S in front of something? 

We explain what SUHD is in layman’s terms and why you should get excited about Quantum Dot technology – the real power behind Samsung’s new 4K panels. 

What is SUHD?

SUHD is Samsung’s brand name behind its new range of 4K Ultra HD TVs. Don’t be sucked in by the jargon – in terms of resolution, it’s not any better than any 4K TV display on the shelves right now. 

Just like 4K Ultra HD TVs, SUHD TVs have around four times as many pixels as standard 1080p Full HD TVs packed into the display panel. This is calculated at a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, where standard Full HD TVs boast a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. 

Although 4K sounds awesome in principle, there’s not a lot of TV you can watch in such a high resolution at the moment. But, just like HD content took a while to become mainstream, 4K content is on its way with Netflix and Amazon both bringing more titles to the table. Broadcasters are working to define standards for 4K transmissions – but we’re a long way off yet. 

What is Quantum Dot?

You might think that the term SUHD doesn’t mean a lot. But it’s the tech packed into SUHD-branded TVs that you should be taking notice of. One of these is Quantum Dot technology. Although Quantum Dot tech has been around for 30 years, it’s only just started to be integrated into TVs. 

Quantum Dot means, in a nutshell, that the colours presented to you are more lifelike than Samsung’s older 4K Ultra HD TVs with an LED backlight. 

The tech behind these ultra-accurate particles is tiny nanocrystals that measure between two to ten nanometers in size (around 1,000th of the diametre of a strand of human hair). Each nanocrystal sits in front of the LED backlight and emits a different colour depending on its size. Smaller dots, for example, appear blue, while the larger ones are red.

Quantum Dots eliminate the need for white LED backlights or colour filters than can give a false representation of colour. 

Other benefits include high peak brightness, allowing for better contrast and beaming much more variance between the darks and lights, and improved saturation and a much wider colour palette. 

In short, SUHD TVs offer a much clearer, truer and better picture than previous 4K TVs from Samsung. How SUHD panels will compare to OLED displays remains to be seen until we get to do a side by side test.

Which SUHD TVs are available?

Samsung announced three new SUHD ranges at CES this year, all of which will feature Quantum Dot technology.

HS Kim, president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics said: “Regardless of the content source, Samsung provides the leading picture in the industry and will continue to do so with our SUHD TVs. Consumers can trust that we are more committed than ever to consistently deliver a superior home entertainment experience for years to come.”

At the bottom of the range, the SUHD JS8500 will feature a flat screen rather than the curved design of the SUHD JS9000 and JS95000. Like the mid-range JS9000, the JS8500 is edge-lit to boost brightness, although it’s not as powerful as the top choice. It also takes a step down in power, with just a single core powering it.

The SUHD S9500 features full-array local-dimming backlight to boost brightness with ‘hundreds of zones’ according to Samsung. This top of the range TV also features the OneConnect box that allows upgrades of both connectivity and processing, as well as an eight-core processor.

All three TVs are available in sizes between 48 and 88-inches.

What’s next for SUHD TVs?

Samsung has showcased its bendable SUHD TVs at CES, taking the impressive tech and installing it in a 105-inch TV that can either be viewed flat or curved, depending on whether you’re watching alone or with friends. 

Going forwards, we can expect further refinements from Samsung as it works to compete against 4K Ultra HD offerings from rivals LG, Sony, Panasonic and TP Vision for Philips amongst others. 

Eventually, Samsung will start cranking out 8K Ultra HD TVs. 8K is seen as the final frontier of TV resolution – it’s thought that the human eye can’t perceive detail beyond resolutions of 7680×4320. Presumably Samsung and everyone else will want to get 8K sets ready in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  

Once the first 8K Ultra HD TVs start rolling off of the production lines, it’s expected that Samsung and the rest will start rolling out the 8K-equivalent of SUHD – granual improvements to displays beyond simply pumping up the pixel count. 

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