[Hands On] What Makes 8K AI Upscaling on the QLED 8K Distinctive?

on November 14, 2018
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At IFA 2018, Samsung Electronics unveiled the QLED 8K television, its most immersive and dynamic screen yet. Now available across all international markets, critics and users alike have singled out the QLED 8K for its truly immersive picture, sound and AI capabilities.


But what sets the QLED 8K apart from other 8K televisions and earns it its mesmerizing picture credentials is its ‘8K AI Upscaling’ feature, which harnesses machine learning to transform lower quality image contents into vivid 8K resolution. Not only can you watch content developed in 8K on the QLED’s 3-million-pixel screen, but with the 8K AI Upscaling feature, you can also watch your favorite videos from any resolution – from SD to 4K – transformed to as close to-8K quality as is possible, depending on the source.



Vivid Detail, Breathtaking Results

4K video (left) and 8K upscaled video (right): the 8K image appears more realistically rendered compared to the 4K one thanks to the enhanced detail of the objects depicted.


8K AI Upscaling is a technology that allows viewers to enjoy their favorite videos originally presented in SD, FHD and UHD in 8K (7,680X4,320) super high-quality resolution. On other higher definition screens, playing a low-definition video results in pixelation, image blurring and an overall unsatisfying viewing experience. In order to illuminate the difference 8K AI Upscaling can make, a 75-inch QLED 8K (Q900R) has been compared with a 75-inch QLED 4K TV (Q9F) to demonstrate how content played on the QLED 8K TV and transformed intelligently through 8K AI Upscaling appears in near-8K resolution quality – even if its source is 4K or below.


8K AI Upscaling results in more detailed and natural videos as it upscales not just one aspect, but a whole variety of features such as light, color and line differentiation. As Hyun-seung Lee, QLED 8K TV Picture Quality Developer notes, this means that the resulting images are ”closer to the original” – just as the creators intended. The realism offered by 8K AI Upscaling really does make all the difference in rendering images as if they were really in front of you. Looking at the image above, in the 8K version you can see that the colors of the weeds in the foreground appear more multi-dimensional; the upscaled texture renders each nook and cranny of the mountainside and differentiates it from the coarser textures of the billowing weeds below; and each and every onscreen detail is brought out so that upon viewing, you are really put into this pastoral scene.



Outstanding Realism

Just as the human eye takes in what is in front of it with no obfuscation and object depth differentiation, so the 8K QLED delivers scenes in detailed clarity thanks to the intelligent reactivity of 8K AI Upscaling (as compared with the FHD quality image on the 4K QLED TV [left])


Reflecting the way human object perception registers objects that are closer to us in more detail, 8K AI Upscaling carefully adjusts content to give ultimate image depth thanks to the advanced resolution process engine. Looking at the above images comparing an FHD-resolution image on the left 4K QLED TV with an 8K-upscaled one on the right QLED 8K, the 8K upscaling presents the flowers in the foreground in minute detail – appearing to viewers as if they were close enough to touch. Similarly, camera pans and sweeps across an environment on-screen are optimized to replicate the way human eyes react to changing stimulus – removing any blur from the video. The effortless pixel-less rendering of the images also contributes to an immersive viewing experience, and the peak 4,000 nit brightness of the QLED 8K accurately expresses images in all light conditions – as they are intended to be seen.



Sharper Text, Improved Legibility

HD video (left) and upscaled 8K video (right): Clearer letter outlines are noticeable in the upscaled image


When playing a low-definition video on a high-definition screen, line ‘noises’ (transmission disturbance that blurs details and caused unwanted digital static) are the most disruptive impediments to a satisfying viewing experience. As the input images have lower quality, letter outlines on captions and subtitles become more blurred. However, 8K AI Upscaling intelligently streamlines thick and rough outlines so that they are as sharp as possible, delivering clearer letters on the screen worthy of a high definition television experience. This aspect of the upscaling is crucial to viewers, as the improved legibility of text, demonstrated in the above images, decreases eye strain. As Lee notes, “Recently, almost all videos and TV programs such as entertainment, news, YouTube videos and movies feature subtitles. Consumers can really notice the difference on-screen with 8K AI Upscaling.”



Deeper Blacks for Total Immersion

4K video (left) and upscaled 8K video (right): More detailed contrasts highlight the details of objects in the black background


With 8K AI Upscaling, denser contrast expression means that object details inside of a black background become more pronounced compared to in their original source resolution, heightening a realistic viewing experience. In order to counteract any light spreading across dark-hued content, a common problem in lower-resolution videos, the Upscaling’s intelligent algorithms analyze black video patterns in order to transmit the perfect black; the quality of this deep black is on a par with content originally produced in 8K resolution. The difference between the two images pre and post upscaling is truly noticeable; such is the power of 8K AI Upscaling technology.



Behind the Scenes: Intelligent Upscaling that Keeps Learning


8K AI Upscaling intelligently analyzes not only 4K but also SD, HD, FHD and any other video resolutions in real-time and any necessary features are supplemented. Textures are restored with delicate detail offsetting, any visual static is automatically eliminated by video stream compression, low-definition edges are sharpened to avoid blurriness, and any discontinuous lines are restored. The key element to this is machine learning. Thanks to the QLED 8K’s inbuilt ‘Quantum Processor 8K’ technology, the intelligent algorithm learns from the differences found and makes note of the correlation between low-definition and high-definition content.


”The Quantum Processor at the heart of 8K AI Upscaling technology sets its own standards for optimized upscaling, instigating such intelligent features as ‘lines must be thin’ and ‘thick and rough areas must be more vivid’,” explains Lee.


Hyun-seung Lee notes that in developing the QLED 8K and its 8K AI Upscaling technology, “we focused on realizing display quality that is closer to original sources”


8K AI Upscaling is based on artificial intelligence smart learning, so through usage, it will develop and adapt with each video upscale as more video data becomes available to the system to be analyzed. But even from the first usage, the QLED 8K provides the most comfortable color, light and texture balances to provide the optimum viewing experience for each user. “8K AI Upscaling opened the development possibilities of not just improving resolution and achieving better image quality, but also in the area of human taste, which is difficult to emulate,” notes Lee on the dynamic changes the QLED 8K’s 8K AI Upscaling feature provides for viewers.

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