Samsung has announced its new range of TVs for 2022, but rather than a big hardware update like last year, it’s focused on the software side of things with a new Smart Hub and cloud gaming support.
At CES 2022, Las Vegas, the firm has said all the new TVs come with a new Smart Hub which “puts content curation and discovery front and center with their viewing preferences”. Meanwhile, the Gaming Hub provides access to Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and the Utomik cloud gaming services.
The Gaming Hub will also take into account your HDMI-connected console meaning you can use your existing controller in a passthrough mode to play games via the cloud services. Samsung has confirmed that this includes Xbox and PlayStation controllers.
What is unclear at the moment is which sets will support the features – Samsung says “select” 2022 TVs will get gaming support. “We are starting with our 2022 models and are working to make the Gaming Hub available to even more Samsung customers,” Samsung gaming product director Mike Lucero told The Verge.
Samsung also hasn’t announced what quality of picture and audio to expect with Lucero saying: “We are working with partners to bring their best levels of service to our platform. We will be announcing details as we get closer to launch.”
While GeForce Now, Stadia and Utomik are the first three services, more could arrive later. Microsoft’s xCloud is a notable omission.
Other features for the 2022 range include Watch Together, which allows you to video chat with friends and family while watching shows, although Samsung doesn’t explain what camera this will use. Smart Calibration will fine-tune your picture settings within 30 seconds, or you can opt for a Professional mode taking around 10 minutes.
Support for NFTs is also confirmed. Samsung says customers will be able to use the platform to discover, purchase and trade digital artwork through Micro LED, Neo QLED and The Frame.
And speaking of the TVs themselves, here’s a look at what’s coming in 2022 from Samsung. None of the products below have confirmed pricing or release date information, but we’re expecting it soon:
Micro LED 2022
This technology, introduced many years ago as The Wall, is still out of reach for most consumers due to a combination of price and huge panel size but Samsung has made updates nonetheless.
Samsung calls it the ‘pinnacle of display technology’ with 2022 sizes coming in at 89-, 101- and 110in (or custom sets up to 178in). These have no less than 25 million LEDs, 1 million steps of brightness and support 20-bit greyscale depth.
The design is effectively bezel-free with a screen-to-body ratio of 99.99%. Like The Frame, the Micro LED TVs offer an Art Mode and come with two exclusive media pieces from noted artist and designer Refik Anadol.
There’s also Dolby Atmos support and Multi View allows users to view content from four different sources at the same time.
Neo QLED 2022
Introduced at CES 2021, the Neo QLED range offers Mini LED for an OLED-like experience without downsides such as screen burn.
An incremental update this year makes sense but Samsung has made some picture and audio upgrades starting with a new Neo Quantum Processor which adds “advanced contrast mapping with BLU (back-light unit),” making a jump from 12- to 14-bit gradation.
In simpler terms, it means the TV can control the lighting with four times more precision at 16,384 steps of brightness.
There are also new picture enhancing modes such as Shape Adaptive Light technology (which aims to enhance brightness and colour accuracy), EyeComfort mode and Real Depth Enhancer as well as improved sound thanks to OTS (object tracking sound) and Dolby Atmos support using new top channel speakers.
All HDMI ports on the higher-end TVs will be 2.1 and support 4K 120Hz. Meanwhile, PC players can take advantage of 144Hz on select models and they will be among the first TVs to support AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro, which aims to deliver a more immersive gaming experience.
Samsung’s popular lifestyle range has also received an update, albeit a fairly minor one.
The Frame, The Sero and The Serif in 2022 all get a new Matte Display with anti-glare, anti-reflection and anti-fingerprint properties.
This received three UL (underwriter laboratories) verifications for ‘Reflection Glare Free’, ‘Discomfort Glare Free’ and ‘Disability Glare Free’.
Check out our guide to the best Samsung TVs.