Samsung this week unveiled its 2018 lineup of big screen televisions at the company's First Look event in New York, and one of the features that stands out is a new Ambient Mode. The new mode is intended for wall mounted TVs and is able to replicate the pattern on the wall behind it. This clever visual trickery acts as a sort of cloaking mechanism, as if the big screen display is not really there.
We are not so far into the future that this works perfectly, of course, but a look around the web reveals that those who have seen it in person are impressed. Gizmodo, for example, says "the effect actually works surprisingly well," though also notes that it was a carefully designed demo. It remains to be seen how it works in settings with less than optimal lighting and more challenging backgrounds.
There is some quick setup involved. To use Ambient Mode, you have to snap a picture of the TV on the wall using your smartphone and presumably a custom app. You then point the camera at the display, which builds an image on the screen to match the wall behind it. Users can also add various effects to spice things up, like having mountains or clouds float on your wall. This is not a game changing feature, but it's nice to see Samsung thinking outside the box.
"Our 2018 lineup of televisions are truly our most innovative and sophisticated yet, designed for today’s consumer who is mindful of the aesthetics of their space," said Jong-hee Han, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. "We are excited for consumers to experience our new TV lineup and features that offer more freedom to decide where and how the TV can be best enjoyed within the home."
The new batch of QLED TVs also integrate Samsung's Bixby digital assistant so that viewers can issue voice commands to play certain shows and control other smart devices in the home. Samsung is also touting a new "One Invisible Connection," which is a slim cable that combines both power and AV data to the TV, available up to 15 meters (just over 49 feet). The benefit for consumers is that it frees them having to place the TV near data or power outlets.
Samsung's new QLED models range in size from 55 inches to 88 inches. It also added new units to its Premium UHD and UHD line. There is no word on pricing yet, though the TVs will begin showing up in stores this month.