Robert King: Samsung Vice President on the future of TV, Quantum Dot and all-powerful remote controls
The Vice President of Consumer Electronics at Samsung UK & Ireland explains how he remains focused and smoothly calm in the middle of the chaos around him
David Phelan | Friday 22 January 2016
Every year, CES changes. This year at the gargantuan electronics show there was a marked increase in drones, self-driving car prototypes and connected-home gadgets. But there’s always one product that sits front-and-centre at CES: televisions.
That was powerfully the case this January, even though the number of cutting-edge TV makers has dwindled. The big four still in evidence are Panasonic, LG, Sony and Samsung.
For the last ten years, Samsung has been the dominant world power, being number one in multiple markets thanks to aggressively-priced, starkly innovative products. LG may have the edge1 where OLED is concerned2, Sony and Panasonic may retain their solid quality reputations, but Samsung is defiantly in the lead.
In a quiet corner of a relentlessly noisy show, I sat down with Robert King, to find out why. Mr King, relaxed, focused and smoothly calm in the middle of the chaos around him, is the Vice President of Consumer Electronics at Samsung UK & Ireland.
One technology Samsung was pushing this year was Quantum Dot. In simple terms, this is a filter which enhances colours and contrast while allowing higher brightness. The first two effects deliver more realistic images and the third is especially useful as TVs get ready for the next big thing, HDR, or high dynamic range.
Samsung＇s 2016 flagship TV: The KS9500 SUHD TV
HDR enables TV pictures with dramatic, bright skies and dark shadowy areas to be onscreen simultaneously, but for both areas to be rich with detail. Quantum Dot is a key part of these enhanced effects.
Samsung has used Quantum Dot for a while and this time it’s on a significant portion of the line-up. Not least because of the wider availability of 4K, or UHD, TVs which offer resolution3 far greater than regular HD. In fact, I’m talking to Mr King just hours after the UHD Alliance has announced its new standard for 4K TVs, called UHD Premium. I ask Mr King if this standard is an important part of consumer perception of 4K.
“As customers come to the UHD arena it’s worth helping them to understand what is true UHD quality. The UHD Alliance has set out to define that with rigorous standards so people know they’re buying a full, true UHD experience which is in line with what TV and film studios are producing, too, so you’re going to get the best, optimal experience that you can for everything you want to watch.”
All very well, but there’s still precious little native 4K content available – fewer than 100 4K movies and a dozen TV series are available on Amazon Prime, with a similar number of TV shows on Netflix. True, UHD Blu-ray discs are incoming this year, but 4K is still far from common. Instead, viewers must rely on the upscaling capabilities of 4K TVs where powerful computer chips work out what HD content would look like if it really were 4K.
“This is very interesting,” Mr King says. “The UHD content is growing, we’ll see more of it this year but there is a lot of content which is significantly enhanced by upscaling. And I think once people know that even their existing Blu-ray discs are going to be improved on UHD TV screens that they will take the plunge and come on board with the new standard.”
Samsung also makes curved TVs, a technology the company pioneered and continues to champion. I ask how much have picture quality and picture shape have helped each other?
“I think the two are absolutely integrated, the experience of watching UHD content on a curved TV with that focus on picture quality but also on design and craftsmanship, it’s a really rewarding experience. People say to me, ‘What about curved?’, and I say, ‘Go and see it. Go and look at it and you’ll get it.’ It’s a physical experience as well as a viewing experience.”
And curved isn’t the only new tech Samsung is pushing. “We’re talking today about bezel-less design that’s almost floating in front of you.” The flagship Samsung models boast screens that really don’t have a perceptible frame around them, just a thin black line between the edge of the picture and the air beyond. And then there’s 360 Design, where the company has taken care to clad the back of the telly to look good, not a mess of sockets and cables.
“360 Design means the back of the TV is being considered. Also it’s nice if you go into a studio apartment, say, where you see the back of the TV more than you’d expect. Also, it’s just that attention to detail that lets you know it’s a quality product.”
There’s more, with audio a big focus, including a new surround sound system with Dolby Atmos to create what Mr King calls “a really cinema-like experience.”
Finally, if you ever long for the days when you turned on the TV and it was just, you know, easy to use, Mr King offers some hope with Samsung’s Tizen smart TV interface.
“We’ve taken big steps to simplify things. It’s true people have three or four devices connected to their TV, they’re having to switch source buttons, so the idea of a smart remote that can help you navigate all of those on one screen, that’s appealing. It’s an area manufacturers have had to focus on because it’s become increasingly diverse what people are bringing to TV: as well as linear TV, there’s internet TV and other devices as well.”
Now, if he can just get the Samsung boffins to find a way that we don’t lose this all-powerful remote down the back of the sofa…
Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/robert-king-samsung-vice-president-on-the-future-of-tv-quantum-dot-and-all-powerful-remote-controls-a6827616.html
- edge - 4. [sing.] ~ (on/over sb/sth) (약간의) 우위[유리함]
- concerned - 2. ~ (about/with sth) 관심[흥미]이 있는
- resolution - 5. [U , sing.] (컴퓨터 화면・프린터 등의) 해상도