Better sound and contrast: Samsung announces its 2022 Neo QLED TVs

As the biggest TV manufacturer going, the tech world waits with bated breath to to see what exciting TV treats Samsung has in store each year.

At CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Samsung announced an update to its line of high-end Neo QLED TVs. It also gave us more details on its Micro LED TVs, which unfortunately are still all too big for most people to buy.

There are rumblings of a QD-OLED TV (quantum dot organic light emitting diode) – something new that Sony also announced at CES.

Here, we give you the lowdown on everything we learned from Samsung at CES 2022, including whether its tech is likely to be any good and what new features you can expect to see in your next TV.

With more than 200 TVs reviewed in 2021, you’ve got plenty of choice if you can’t wait for the 2022 ranges to launch later this year. You can use our expert TV reviews to quickly and easily find the one that’s best for you.

Improvements to Neo QLED TVs

Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs launched to some fanfare in 2021 as they looked to close the quality gap with OLEDs by improving the backlight. It was hoped that by shrinking the size of the LEDs in the backlight and packing more of them in, Samsung’s Neo QLEDs would have comparable quality to OLEDs.

In 2022 Samsung is sticking with this technology and taking it further: four times further.

Backlights create dimming zones. It’s an area of distinct lighting control, and the more a TV has, the more control there is over how the screen is lit. Samsung says the previous iteration of its Quantum Mini LED backlights had 4,069 dimming zones and the new ones will have 16,384.

It’s a massive leap that should make colours look more accurate, help objects look defined, create deeper blacks and precise bright whites.

Samsung has also added something called a ‘Real Depth Enhancer’. It’s software that should make foreground and background images stand out better to create a more three-dimensional effect.

There are sound improvements, too. For the first time, Samsung TVs will have upward-firing speakers to send audio overhead. Most TVs have Dolby Atmos sound processing to do this, but without speakers pointing in the right direction it can only be a simulation (which doesn’t tend to work very well).

Tech tips you can trust – get our free Tech newsletter for advice, news, deals and stuff the manuals don’t tell you

Micro-LED TVs are exciting, but still too big

Getting more dimming zones into a backlight is one way to get contrast to OLED levels, but a better way is simply to create a rival technology. That’s what micro-LED TVs are.

Just like OLEDs, each pixel in the display creates its own light, which means screens of this nature have unparalleled control over how they are lit. The issue with micro-LED TVs is that the smallest one is a colossal 89 inches from corner to corner.

They do have interesting features to take advantage of all those inches – such as Multi View, which splits the screen into four, with each quadrant displaying different content. You could have a film playing in one corner, the news in another and a video game taking up the bottom half.

For now, though, these TVs aren’t a realistic purchase for most people, which is a shame because the technology has the potential to be excellent. We can only hope that these TVs become available in smaller sizes soon.

Samsung’s 2021 QLEDs are cheaper than ever. Check our Samsung QLED TV reviews to see which hit the Which? Best Buy mark.

Samsung has an OLED

Sort of, anyway. This wasn’t part of Samsung’s official CES press release, but it won a CES innovation award for a QD-OLED TV.

It therefore doesn’t take a huge amount of detective work to figure out that Samsung is probably going to release a QD-OLED TV for general sale this year.

The QD part stands for quantum dot – the same quantum dots in Samsung’s QLED and Neo QLED displays, but behind them is a layer of self-emitting pixels like you get on an OLED, and no backlight.

Samsung has shied away from this technology in the past and pushed heavily into the micro-LED technology as a true alternative to OLED displays.

Quite why it has chosen to flip to the OLED side now isn’t clear, but the QD-OLED technology has real potential. The OLED pixels take care of the impressive contrast, while the quantum dots help the colours look more vibrant and increase the brightness.

Other TV manufacturers haven’t been quiet during CES: