I still watch multiple weekly shows on multiple streamers – currently Euphoria on HBO Max, 1883 on Paramount +, and Boba Fett’s book on Disney +, but I can’t group them into a single row on my Samsung TV like I can with my Apple TV and Google TV devices.
Samsung TV’s revamped UI announced last week at CES 2022 and the launch of new TV models in the spring will change that. The new design includes a Recent line that will mix streamers with live channels and a Keep Watching line that will let you know when new episodes are available.
The new interface will be a significant change from the current smart hub of apps and input tiles at the bottom of the screen. The movie and TV series titles will be organized around rows that will bring together content from all your services on one screen and include a hub for game consoles like the Xbox Series X and online games like Google’s Stadia service. .
Built-in Dolby Atmos, a battery-free Eco remote and the revamped user interface are three of the TV’s biggest features that Samsung highlighted during its keynote presentation at CES 2022. Decider met with Lydia Cho, Samsung’s product marketing manager. , and Dan Schinasi, Director of Product Planning, to discuss the company’s upcoming Neo QLED TVs.
DECISION MAKER: Of all of Samsung’s CES announcements, the most exciting new hardware feature for me is that Dolby Atmos audio will be delivered to 2022 TVs. Will this only affect certain models?
LYDIA CHO: Dolby Atmos will therefore be on the Neo QLED 4k and 8k range, which is Samsung’s main range.
Do the built-in speakers have a large output, or do consumers who want sound bar sound always need a sound bar?
DAN SCHINASI: You don’t necessarily need to use a sound bar; it sounds great on its own, and you can get up to 90 watts of sound on its own. If you want to use a soundbar, the channels built into the TV (the center channel, side channels, and upstream channels) will work in harmony with a soundbar.
The new Eco remote control recharges by radio waves, which I admit I did not know was a thing.
CHO: This same Neo QLED 4k and 8k range with Dolby Atmos will include an Eco remote made from recycled materials. It doesn’t require a battery and is powered by both solar power and RF harvesting, and you can charge it with USB-C. Even on a cloudy day, you can still fully charge the remote from your router’s energy waves.
And the new remote will work with 2022 TVs but not 2021 and older TVs?
CHO: It’s just for 2022 units, correct.
Samsung is revamping the main interface with lines for current shows, recommendations on multiple streamers, cloud games, and more. What was the main idea behind the redesign?
CHO: We really focused on customizing the TVs. The 2022 models will have a new home screen with a media display, game hub, and ambient mode. When you turn on the TV, the media display puts all your streaming services in one place. The gaming hub will allow you to access a range of cloud-based consoles and games in one place. The latest addition is Ambient Mode, which will allow you to use your TV as a screen for illustrations and photos.
Some services – Netflix in particular – are more integrated on some platforms than others. Will you have full streamer participation on the new interface at launch, or will other services participate over time?
SCHINASI: Our integration with our partners is phenomenal. We’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and resources, and there probably isn’t a manufacturer in the world with more instances of Netflix on their platform than Samsung. What’s new for 2022 is more of an overhaul of the user experience than the technology behind the platform.
We have bridged live viewing to on-demand viewing, which has always been in separate areas of the interface. We integrate a hub for console games and cloud games and even PC games with very high frame rates.
Samsung added Peacock and Apple TV in 2021, and this will truly be the first year you can market Samsung TVs as a home for all major streamers, all major music services, many game services, and more. in your marketing for 2022?
CHO: This year we are focusing on personalization. Therefore, having all the major services is a great advantage in showing consumers what they want.
If I watch episode after episode of a UK comedy on Acorn TV, the recommendation engine will show me other UK comedies on other streamers I subscribe to.
CHO: Yes, exactly. You will see recommendations on all of your services based on what you are watching.
You are introducing a hub for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are currently gaining a lot of investor and media attention. Do you see that evolving from the footage into something like a limited edition of a movie that’s only available to 10,000 or 20,000 buyers?
SCHINASI: The current view is one of static images and art, and we’ll have to wait and see where that evolves.
You update SmartThings, which is Samsung’s smart home hub.
SCHINASI: So SmartThings is our automatic home which in the past required a separate concentrator device. This will now be integrated into the TV and you will be able to manage smart home devices from the TV.
The Watch Together feature will allow Samsung consumers to see and interact with each other while watching the same movie or TV show. Is this a Samsung feature or something that will only work with particular services?
SCHINASI: It’s a feature of Samsung. For now, two people will be able to watch their TVs in different places and see each other on a split screen. This will work on two Samsung TVs for now, and we’ll see how it evolves to other devices over time.
CHO: This is a spinoff of our Multi View feature which allows you to display two inputs on the screen at the same time.
Will it work on other Samsung devices like phones and tablets?
SCHINASI: It’s an improvement planned to go to mobile devices in – probably – 2023, so we’re definitely thinking about how to expand it beyond TVs.
Will these new interface changes launch on the new 2022 models first, and then roll out over time to 2021 and earlier models?
SCHINASI: We will be launching the 2022 models and we are still working on the features that will work with the hardware of the previous models depending on memory, processor, etc.
Scott Porch writes about the television industry for Decider. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Beast and produces the Must Watch streaming podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @ScottPorch.