I've recently returned from a visit to Samsung in Germany, where I was treated to early demos of a number of TVs from the company's new 2023 range (check out my S95C QD-OLED hands-on) – and the thing that most struck me is how seriously the company now appears to be taking picture accuracy.
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Samsung has been making great TVs for a long time, but I think it's fair to say that the company has often been more interested in spectacle than in subtlety. It prides itself on producing the brightest, punchiest, most vibrant TVs, and there's no denying that most of them are brilliant to watch, but there's also a feeling that many models have been a bit more colourful than is strictly correct.
There's nothing inherently wrong with that approach, particularly as Samsung has generally managed to tread the fine line between boosting colours and making everything look unnatural, resulting in an image that pops without looking obviously unrealistic, but for those looking for the truest recreation of what the director intended, Samsung perhaps hasn't been the TV brand of choice.
I think that could soon change. The last few Samsung launches I've attended have included comparisons with mastering monitors, and staff have been at pains to illustrate how hard they're working to faithfully recreate the source material. More and more of these demos are being conducted with the TV in its most accurate Filmmaker Mode or Movie preset, too. The Samsung of old was all about the more dazzling but less cinematically accurate Standard or even Vivid presets. This is a massive step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.
Last year, Samsung also launched a special Smart Calibration feature that allows users to achieve greater colour accuracy from their QLED TV using the SmartThings mobile app. This feature is being rolled out to more TVs in 2023 and is another sign of the company's evolution towards authenticity.
What's especially exciting about Samsung's increased interest in authenticity is that it's one of only two brands (Sony is the other) that's producing QD-OLED TVs, which combine the awesome contrast accuracy of OLED with Quantum Dots, which can reproduce a greater swathe of the colour spectrum. At times, Samsung has perhaps used its Quantum Dot technology to make images pop, but it seems as though it might now be using it to make images more accurate.
Of course, I could be proved wrong, and Samsung's 2023 TVs could turn out to be less faithful to creative intent than hoped. The company's making a lot of the right noises at this point, though, and seems to now realise that with great colour volume comes great responsibility.
Here's our Samsung S95B QD-OLED hands-on
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Also check out our LG G3 hands-on