Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Displays Television Hardware Technology

Samsung's New TVs Are Almost Invisible (qz.com) 158

Mike Murphy reports via Quartz of Samsung's new top-of-the-line televisions announced at an event in New York today: Samsung's new QLED line of 4K TVs features a technology the company is calling "Ambient Mode." Before you mount the TV, you'll snap a picture of the wall it's going to hang on -- it doesn't matter if it's brick, wood, patterned wallpaper, or just a white wall -- and then after it's up, you can set that picture as the TV's background. The result is something that looks like a floating black rectangle mounted on a wall. Samsung even includes a digital version of the shadow this black rectangle would cast on the wall, as if there really wasn't a large LED panel sitting in the middle of the thin metal strips. There are five QLED models, with minor tweaks between them, ranging in size from 49 inches, up to an absolutely massive 88 inches. The televisions have a built-in timer so that the ambient setting will turn off after a while, in order to spare your electricity bill. Viewing the televisions before Samsung's event, the ambient really did appear to blend them into the walls at first blush. One, against a fake brick wall, was indistinguishable from what was behind it until you really got close up to the screen. The distinction on another, attempting to mimic a painted off-white wall, was a little more obvious. But that's not really the point -- the mode is just intended to give the illusion of invisibility between watching TV, and when you want to show off your new television to a visitor. Pricing isn't available but you can expect them to range from a few thousands dollars all the way up to $20,000 for the largest, sharpest models. Samsung also announced that it's partnering with The Weather Channel, The New York Times, and others to overlay content on the ambient TVs. They will also be able to control any smart device that can control to Samsung's SmartThings system, like Amazon Echoes, Ring doorbells, and Philips Hue Lights. Bixby is baked into the remote to help you search for content and cater to commands.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Samsung's New TVs Are Almost Invisible

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's stupid.

  • Energy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:39PM (#56224981)
    You're using energy 24/7 making your TeeVee appear invisible?
    • Re:Energy (Score:5, Informative)

      by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:53PM (#56225049)

      You have to read all the way to the 5th sentence to see that there is a timer that turns it off.

      • Re:Energy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by msauve ( 701917 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:01PM (#56225083)
        And why make it look like the wall, instead of making it look like a picture in a frame, instead of an expanse of wood, brick, whatever?

        (and if it's not a 3D, curved screen, you're not really buying into the marketing, anyway)
        • Re:Energy (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:43PM (#56225241)

          What it really needs is the option to make it look like the wall, but every so often it distorts the image in the shape of a tormented face trying to get through. Do it either really fast for the jump scare, or really slow so people get uneasy until it finally hits them. Gotta keep the house guests on their toes.

        • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:58PM (#56225299)
          Sure. Set the background as a photo of the wall behind your TV. Then load a screen saver that shows cockroaches running around the screen.
          • by msauve ( 701917 )
            "load a screen saver that shows cockroaches running around the screen."

            Your house, not mine.
          • Go outside and snap a picture of what you would see if the TV was a window and have that, or a short length animation with the trees gently moving in the breeze. Unless you had a crappy view of an alleyway or something similar on that side.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Personally I would prefer a series of video streams, recorded or live of pleasant surroundings with pleasant music (here's a favourite https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]), probably adjusted to time for my local with a living view adjusted for better night or day light visuals. As for power, well I will replace my windows with their problematic insulation, questionable view (not true I have a fantastic view especially sunsets, I enjoy seeing storms roll in) with solar panels and size does count.

            So Samsung wa

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )
          They already know noone is buying into the 3D and curved screen marketing, that's why they're aiming for the new non-existent market of people who want a framed wall on their wall.
          • by msauve ( 701917 )
            "They already know noone"

            What does Peter Noone of Hermit's Hermits, have to do with this?
          • They already know noone is buying into the 3D and curved screen marketing

            Not no one. My wife bought a curved TV. She also bought an iPhone X.

            Our economy depends on people like her.

        • And why make it look like the wall, instead of making it look like a picture in a frame, instead of an expanse of wood, brick, whatever?

          (and if it's not a 3D, curved screen, you're not really buying into the marketing, anyway)

          They make one of those [qz.com] too.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          And why make it look like the wall, instead of making it look like a picture in a frame, instead of an expanse of wood, brick, whatever?

          (and if it's not a 3D, curved screen, you're not really buying into the marketing, anyway)

          Hmm, a good sized window is say 3'x5' or roughly 15 square feet. This is comparable to around a 70" tv. A typical 70" tv uses about 185W which is about 631 btu/hr. Assuming my math is correct, an R4 window of about that size is going to lose or gain about 112.5BTU/hr if the outside temperature is 30 degrees different. (30*15)/4=112.5.

          If we ignore everything else and assume a tv replaces a window, and that somehow the area behind the tv is now almost perfectly insulated, that yields the tv costing about

        • "And why make it look like the wall,"

          It'd be more fun to make it look like an archway going to an adjacent room or a garden and watch people walk into it.

          ====

          But seriously, I imagine that people with more money than sense -- no shortage of THOSE -- will find uses for these. Put up a famous picture -- The Nightwatch or September Morn. And change it occasionally.

          Heck, there might even be some useful things these things can do.

        • Why not set up a video camera pointing outside and then stream the scene to the television? Instant window!
      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        If it's doing its invisible thing, it's using power.
        If it's not doing its invisible thing, it might as well not have an invisible thing. It's just a gimmick.

        Not to mention being an unwanted lightsource when the room is dark. Unless you switch it off, in which case you've got a big arse tv visible in the dark.

    • That problem can be solved easily by hanging the TV in a window with a solar collector in front of it. When it becomes invisible the solar collector will generate electricity.
    • by rnturn ( 11092 )

      That reminds me of the time, ages ago, when flying toasters ruled the screensaver world and a manager asked ``Wouldn't turning the monitor off be an even better way to save the screen? And keep our power usage down?'' as he looked out across the cubicle farm housing dozens and dozens of power-hungry CRT monitors all running screensavers.

    • It has a timer. Besides, you'll get sick of it and turn it off after five minutes anyway.
    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      Whatever happened to those dual-mode e-ink / LCD screens? Would be perfect* for this.

      *Not actually perfect, since color e-ink sucks.
    • You could save even more power if you made your TV look like a scrying mirror [youtube.com]

      Actually on an OLED you could take advantage of the excellent contrast ratio and zero power for black pixels to have demonic faces appear very faintly on the TV is scrying mirror mode. Not all the time, perhaps just late at night when people come in and turn off the lights, just before they leave the room. A sort of 'you can see it out of the corner of your eye' thing.

    • >You're using energy 24/7 making your TeeVee appear invisible?

      Don't forget showing ads.

      Samsung is infamous for patching firmware after release to cause the input bars to display ads on them, despite selling TVs that don't have ads.

      I returned two of them, the second after I disabled firmware updates, and the TV updated the firmware anyway to have ads.

      I won't buy Samsung now, period. I even switched my phones away from Samsung. They can burn in hell.

  • Edge TV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:43PM (#56224991) Homepage Journal

    Next up will be the Samsung Edge TV. It's just like the current TV, only the screen extends and curves a bit at the edges, so there is no black rectangle frame at the end of the screen. Sure, it's even more pointless than the edge on their phones, but when they're charging a premium for anything that makes them cooler than a TCL or Vizio TV, there's nothing they won't try.

    Now if they had a passive color E-Ink display or the like, that would be really cool. Then you don't have to feel guilty about the power when leaving the screen on to have it blend in with the wall (or appear to be a painting, or whatever). Of course, good luck getting such a display to handle motion and extreme contrast that makes for a quality television. And good luck getting such a display at anything resembling HDTV resolutions, let alone 4K.

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:43PM (#56224993) Homepage Journal
    How do you watch an invisible TV?
  • PSA: "QLED" is a con (Score:5, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:44PM (#56224995)

    The name is meant to imply that it's comparable to OLED technology, but the reality is that it's just regular old LED technology. It IS NOT anywhere nearly as good as real OLED. And only LG makes *real* OLEDs, not Samsung.

    • I prefer the color warmth of my plasma projector system. OLED is too harsh.
    • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
      Yes, because everyone is going to always mistake that Q for an O. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's no better/worse than the confusion between LED screens (LCD with LED backlight) and OLED screens.
    • by Inviska ( 4955697 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @11:08PM (#56225317)

      QLED is a con, but for entirely different reasons than you state. Samsung where extremely light on details when they introduced their QLED televisions, but questioning by AV sites revealed that these are not electroluminescent quantum dot displays, but are in fact LCD displays with a quantum dot backlight. It's a lot like Samsung's so called LED displays, that are again just LCD displays with an LED backlight. There's no denying that these quantum dot LCDs are a significant improvement over standard LCD, but they still possess many of the drawbacks of LCD, and to market them as quantum dot displays is misleading.

      Companies are working on true electroluminescent quantum dot displays, with BOE being the first to demonstrate prototypes. There are some pictures here [oled-info.com], and another article here [avsforum.com]. There's a video somewhere but I can't find it right now. Digitimes reported that Samsung have prototype electroluminescent quantum dot displays that they have not yet shown publicly, and other Chinese manufacturers besides BOE are working on the technology.

      It still looks like its a good few years before we'll see commercial electroluminescent quantum dot displays, and micro-LED displays may have taken off by then. I'm still waiting for a decent computer monitor. It is insane that nearly 20 years later you still can't get a monitor that comes close to the Sony GPD-FW900.

      • And yet side by side next to LGs OLEDs they look quite comparable. No one cares that the marketing term doesn't match the science behind it. You can't call it a "con" when it in fact shows all the performance and features you expect.

    • by gspear ( 1166721 )
      Even "LED technology" is a con -- it's still an LCD panel (the LED is just the backlight).
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @09:46PM (#56225007)
    "They will also be able to control any smart device that can control to Samsung's SmartThings system, like Amazon Echoes, Ring doorbells, and Philips Hue Lights. Bixby is baked into the remote to help you search for content and cater to commands."

    Nope. Not gonna use a TV connected to the Internet. That's dumb.
    • How are you going to get video to appear on the TV without Internet? You aren't thinking very clearly. Also, this is a smart TV, so it is the opposite of dumb.
      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        You're right. I wasn't making any sense. It's right in the name. I shouldve' known.
      • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @08:33AM (#56226569) Journal

        How are you going to get video to appear on the TV without Internet?

        Using one of the myriad of devices that can connect to the internet in a secure, controlled and controllable manner, then provide that content to the TV using one of the industry standard inputs.

        With no fucking adverts, no camera or microphone in the TV monitoring you, no removal of specific applications because the media company stopped paying the TV manufacturer, etc.

      • How are you going to get video to appear on the TV without Internet?

        The USB port on the side of mine works great!

    • Now you have a choice at all price price points to have a 24/7 spy in your house.
  • What's not invisible is how Samsung TVs post all your viewing habits to log-ingestion.samsungacr.com.
  • No one has ever thought to take a picture of the area behind a monitor and set it as the wallpaper before.... https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/creative-transparent-screen-trick-photos/ [hongkiat.com]
    • In a conference room at my office is an entire cork board wall with a projector screen in the middle. Someone, naturally, took a picture of the cork board, made it the room PC's wallpaper, and I guess set a Group Policy prohibiting the wallpaper from being changed. They INSIST on whimsy. I thought inspirational photos like something from Southeast Alaska would be better... sorry, but no.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:19PM (#56225167)

    Of course, I did mount it on a black wall...

  • Before you mount the TV, you'll snap a picture of the wall it's going to hang on

    So, what happens if I mount this TV on one of the inner glass walls in the new Apple Campus...

  • Heres a picture :P
  • by dexotaku ( 1136235 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:49PM (#56225265)

    Subject says it all.

  • Excellent idea!

  • Whoa Nellie! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:55PM (#56225283)
    I'm surprised no one commented that after buying a TV with this must have cloaking technology, they are partnering with various outfits to ...

    Wait for it........Serve you stuff that makes the whole thing pointless. So now you can be served those fine advertisements on a beautiful background that looks like your wall. Wowsers, what a brave new world full of wonder and promise.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @11:12PM (#56225331) Journal

    "How do you like my new invisible TV? All of the shows on it say what a fantastic job I'm doing."

    "It's tremendous, Mr President. Really spectacular. Now, can we get back to the national security briefing?"

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @12:02AM (#56225493)
    I'll just paint my wall black and save $1000s!
  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @12:37AM (#56225587) Journal

    Here is something for you hackers out there to try.
    The simple version: In a room with no exterior windows, set a large TV/monitor into a wall. Surround it by a window frame. Display the view you'd expect to see from your building, if there actually was a window there.
    Elaboration 0: Use a camera to feed a live view of outside to the 'window'.
    Elaboration 1: Have weird things happen occasionally in the view: UFO, Godzilla attack, albatross flying into the "window", tsunami, pyroclastic flow, spiderman.
    Elaboration 2: Have some cameras inside the room and some AI to identify and track human heads. By whatever method, pick one head as the victim. Feed the location of that head to the display software, so it will display the view with the correct parallax for that viewpoint.

    Once you add the parallax, I think this could be very convincing to any unsuspecting viewer.

    I disclaim any responsibility for the effects this could have on the viewer, or consequences that the viewer or others might visit upon the trickster. Consult your own ethics and lawyers and (if relevant) your institution's ethics review board.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @12:43AM (#56225609)

    >"Viewing the televisions before Samsung's event, the ambient really did appear to blend them into the walls at first blush."

    Except that Samsung and apparently most of the other manufacturers are in love with stupid, GLOSSY screens. So no, it will not be invisible, it will reflect every stray light and everything else, even when it is on. (Can you tell I am a fan of now nearly unobtainable MATT displays?)

    I can guess their "sample" setup was engineered VERY carefully to try and hide the actual reality of reflections that would be present in any real-world use.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's "matte". Matt is my brother.

  • Seems like a good Roku Channel idea.

    Also, wonder if the TV will work the same in all light levels (including lights off). Does it?

  • No way it's going to blend THAT well with the wall.

    Think about it. Have you ever taken a picture, then held up the camera to the thing you just photographed to compare? The colors are always a little bit off. And think about the way the room's colors change from dim to bright and back with time of day and weather conditions. There's no way the TV is going to be able to compensate for changing lighting conditions.

    You'd be better off just displaying a random picture, like a big digital picture frame.

  • In a perfectly calibrated lab environment, with perfect lighting, i'm sure it looks seamless. But i don't think it will be seamless in every lighting situation. In some conditions, it's just going to look odd
  • When it catches fire it becomes very visible, just give it a try!
  • It's been in its box in the cellar for years, since we didn't use it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why in the world did "area man" take so long to show up? Did you move out of the area?

  • They can be really relied on to come up with harebrained schemes. But, in truth, they also make the most explosive devices in the market. Anyway, I am already burning with anticipation.
  • Hope you don't have any pet birds or mount the TV outdoors.

  • We have been using Sharp TV's as monitors in our office for years. Quite by accident I learned they have a similar feature called Wallpaper Mode but instead of looking like the wall it has an artistic picture that displays when it is turned off if you enable quick start mode. Looks like a hanging picture and as I learned from the manual is low power so it isn't using nearly as much power as normal. You can also set it to use images loaded to any USB drive connected to the TV. This isn't remotely new Samsung
  • Take the wall photo before you install the flush mount hdmi / power outlet.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault

Working...