When Samsung executives unveiled its new line of 2017 TVs at a press event at CES in Las Vegas Tuesday, they highlighted some unexpected features. The company’s new QLED TVs don’t just have a great picture quality, or so goes the pitch, but are also a lot simpler to install.
“It can take anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour to mount a TV,” told Samsung SVP Dave Das a crowd of journalists Tuesday night. Das argued that consumers don’t want to struggle with TV mounts when they take a new TV set home from the store. “They want installing a TV on the wall as easy as installing a picture.”
Samsung’s new line of QLED TVs promises to simplify the installation process with a new mount that actually attaches most of the mounting hardware to the TV itself, with consumers then hanging the TV to a small plate attached to the wall. This makes it possible to level the TV after it is hung on the wall, and also allows for a flush installation, leaving virtually no gap between the wall and the TV set.
Samsung continued this message of simplicity with a new cable management system that connects a wall-mounted TV to all of its accessories with nothing more than a thin optical cable and a power cord; the optical cable goes to a connector box that features all the necessary inputs and outputs, including HDMI ports and more. “Users aren’t just interested in picture quality,” said Das. “They want a leap forward in design and user experience.”
|Samsung’s new Smart View app integrates content from a variety of sources.Janko Roettgers / Variety|
Samsung also introduced the new version of its Smart View app at the event, which makes it possible to launch playback of shows from a variety of third-party services directly from a mobile device similar to the way Google’s Chromecast works. Variety first broke the news about Samsung adding this kind of functionality to its TVs last week.
Samsung’s 2017 line of TVs also feature a new sports app that allows sports fans to select their favorite teams, and then get alerts about ongoing games on the TV screen. And the company has teamed up with Shazam to bring music recognition to its TV sets. Consumers can now ask an integrated Shazam app to identify any song that is playing in a TV show, and then add it to a playlist to later listen to with their favorite music service.
|Samsung’s new 2017 TVs integrate Shazam to identify any song that plays on TV.Janko Roettgers / Variety|
Of course, CES wouldn’t be CES if a company like Samsung didn’t also introduce major upgrades to its picture quality. The company is crediting this year’s upgrade to something it calls “metal quantum dots.” The company’s 2017 TVs feature peak luminescence of up to 2000 nits and a 100 percent color volume, which essentially means that colors don’t lose any of their power when the TV’s brightness is cranked all the way up. QLED TVs are obviously all 4K HDR, and Samsung is once again making flat and curved models.
Still, it’s interesting that Samsung chose to invest not just in specs, but also simplicity for its new TV sets. As features like 4K HDR are moving from high-end home theater enthusiasts to the average consumer, there’s only so much Samsung can do to differentiate itself from the competition – especially if every TV in a store showroom looks so much better than what consumers may have bought 4 or 5 years ago.
Simplicity and design may just be what average consumers need to be convinced to spend a bit more on a Samsung TV than on a TV set from some of the company’s lower-priced competitors.