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[Interview] Freeing the TV with the Innovative One Invisible Connection



For decades, the TV has been a static object, confined to sit on the outer edges of a room or inside a cupboard, never moving from a single space as we attempt to hide away the cables that bring it to life. Yet Samsung Electronics believes that the TV should be an agile and dynamic device, with the flexibility to be positioned anywhere within in space and moved whenever desired. Combining cables into a single line, the One Invisible Connection was thus conceived to eliminate clutter and free the TV from its past.


Recently the Newsroom sat down with the One Invisible Connection managers to take a closer look at the journey from product planning to development, as they created this innovative solution.


Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display Division, who planned and developed the One Invisible Connection. (From left) Junghwa Choi, Mingu Roh, Duhee Jang, and Seungbok Lee.



First-of-its-kind Flexibility

The first development in Samsung’s dramatic reduction of cable clutter was the One Connect Box, a hub for connecting various A/V components to the TV, introduced in 2013. Building on this work, in 2017, the company debuted the Invisible Connection, which combined all data and A/V lines into a forked cable. This year, it unveiled a first-of-its-kind innovation: a new One Invisible Connection that integrates everything – data and power – into a single cable.


“Invisible Connection” for 2017 QLED TVs (left) and “One Invisible Connection” for 2018 QLED TVs (right) Last year, there was a separate power line, but it was completely integrated into one cable this year.


The new One Invisible Connection is the culmination of the team’s combined efforts to overcome numerous obstacles. “Last year, we focused more on the appearance to create a design that seems invisible. But this year, while developing the newer version, we looked closely at real households to see how the cables were actually installed,” remarked Mingu Roh from the Product Strategy Team. “People would twist and mold the cables to hide a power line out of sight. So, we thought integrating the lines into one single cable would be fundamental to increasing the TV’s freedom.”


The greatest technical hurdle was to allow a customer to freely change the location of their TV around a room, without being hindered by bulky power or data cables. Junghwa Choi from the R&D Team explained, “We developed a solution which uses high-speed SerDes, optical communication, and error compensation technology to integrate the power and data lines into one thin cable.” Seungbok Lee from the R&D Team added, “We decided on this route after careful deliberation.”


The cable provided with the TV is 5 meters in length, but if needed, the line can be extended up to 15 meters, with the separate purchase of a longer One Visible Connection.


This is how Samsung 2018 QLED TVs were freed from spatial restrictions. With the One Invisible Connection, users can easily move their TVs, avoiding the tiresome process of reorganizing tangled lines and unplugging the powerline from the outlet. No longer required to be positioned close to sockets or in front of a sofa in the living room, the TV can be enjoyed anywhere in the room.



Safety First

The One Invisible Connection has piqued public curiosity and raised certain questions concerning safety for small children and animals. Keeping these considerations at the forefront of their minds, the R&D Team undertook the sizable task of designing an ultra-thin cable that safely allows high-voltage transmission.


Customer safety was the team’s top priority in any situation. Focusing on the management and reduction of various safety risks led them to develop a new piece of technology: an over-current protection circuit that shuts off power in the rare case of overheating. In risky situations, the One Invisible Connection immediately cuts off power. “If it is unplugged or disconnected, power is cut off within two seconds for safety purposes,“ said Duhee Jang from the R&D Team.



Samsung was approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)*, guaranteeing the safety of the One Invisible Connection. Nevertheless, the certification process itself was challenging, as there were no pre-existing standards to measure the new development against. In fact, Samsung created a new standard.


“We worked closely with UL from the beginning of the project to define customer needs and standards. Given the time constraint, the Planning and R&D Teams had to work simultaneously and these profound efforts are why the successful development and optimization of the One Invisible Connection are particularly meaningful,” said Lee. “UL Marks are the most widely recognized safety certification marks in the world. We are proud of the fact that we were able to present these new standards,” he added.



First Impressions


Resolving the shortcomings of traditional cables, the developers of the One Invisible Connection paid close attention to consumer preferences. On their home visits, they had also gained insights about consumer perception of cable thickness.


Roh said, “There was feedback that thin cables seem vulnerable and unstable. People even asked me, ‘Is it OK to have a cable this thin?’ So the team began its research and verification process to find an optimal thickness that would also assure users.”


As the product evolved into a hybrid cable containing both power and data lines, the team enhanced durability by swapping materials. “The major changes include switching the cable material from Kevlar to the more durable Teflon on the outside,” Choi elaborated. “It successfully integrates several important technologies.”



In their desire to blend it seamlessly into the home, the team went beyond the traditional boundaries of the TV. Some may doubt the importance of a cable, but Samsung’s One Invisible Connection is at the forefront of the evolution of the TV from simple audio-visual medium to a lifestyle product.


In consideration of the growing trend of consumers seeking greater convenience from their products, maximizing mobility is the future of TV design. The team hopes it will soon be the norm that people move their TVs anywhere around their homes.


*UL is a global safety consulting and certification company, approved to perform safety testing by the U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

[Interview] The Works of Pine Tree Photographer Bien-u Bae Comes into The Frame


Forty-eight years ago, renowned photographer Bien-u Bae pressed a shutter button for the first time. Since then, he has become one of Korea’s most important artists, and is most known for his meditative landscape photographs, particularly those that feature pine trees as their primary subjects.


Today, Bae’s works are being introduced in a completely new light; eight of his famous photographs are available via The Frame’s Art Store starting February 1. And, thanks to The Frame’s cutting-edge digital technologies, viewers can experience Bae’s photographs in a way that has never been possible before.


Samsung Newsroom recently visited Bae’s workshop in Korea to talk about the digitization of his works, as well as his thoughts on art and The Frame.


One of Bae’s pine tree series, filled with uniquely Korean sentiment. The British singer/songwriter Elton John bought this picture.



The Global Appeal of Pine Trees

Bae’s most popular photographs to date are those that reflect the haunting and ethereal qualities of Korea’s pine tree forests. These images, like many of Bae’s, have an almost calligraphic quality and are saturated with a Korean-influenced visual vocabulary.


Pine trees have singular symbolic importance in Korean culture, but they also exist in various corners of the world, as Bae points out when he shows us a beautiful image of pine trees on a small island not far from Cannes, France. Pine trees are universal but there’s a subtle distinction from region to region.


Whatever the different characteristics may be, however, the pine trees in Bae’s pictures are all meant to encapsulate the traditional, meditative sentiment of the Korean culture. His unique ability to capture various pine trees in this way, as Bae playfully quips, is perhaps why he has “been able to take pictures of pine trees for such a long time.”


Bae explains how pine trees can be found all around the world, though their characteristics are slightly different depending on their environment.


The universality of pine trees, and Bae’s inspirational ability to capture their intrinsic beauty, is one of the reasons why Bae’s works are appreciated worldwide. So appreciated, in fact, that he has achieved international attention with prominent collectors owning his work. Both the singer Elton John and former US president Barack Obama have Bae’s photos hanging in their halls.



The Frame – An Extended Definition of Art


To make his work even more accessible, Bae recently collaborated with Samsung Electronics to make his photographs available on The Frame, a product he feels will change how we interact with art.


“I love the idea that by simply hanging a TV on a wall, viewers can feel as if they are inside of a museum,” Bae said. “The Frame will change the way we appreciate art in our daily life.”


To ensure that his photographs are displayed as accurately as possible, Bae participated in the detailed calibration of the digitization of his works. By taking extra care to calibrate the micro pixels of each image, he was able to make certain that his photographs maintained the best possible quality.


“I think The Frame makes my works more colorful,” Bae explained. “If we look at ‘Jongmyo,’ one of my photographs of a royal ancestral shrine in Korea, we need to closely examine the image to see the rain in the scene. But when viewed on The Frame, the rain is easier to see and the background looks livelier.”


“Jongmyo” by Bae



Merging the Analog and Digital Worlds

Bae went on to further explain his thoughts about the differences in the analog (or film) and digital.


“The experience of taking pictures with a film camera is completely different than that of using a digital camera,” he said. “In order to capture the perfect shot with a film camera, we have to calculate every aspect of the photograph before taking the shot.”


But just because Bae admires the beauty of film photography does not mean that he does not recognize the advantages of digital technology.


“When I see my works displayed on The Frame, I’m automatically reminded of my favorite poem,” Bae noted. “My photographs have become poetry for me. Thanks to digital technology, anyone can now enjoy art in their daily life as if in a gallery.”




Film Photography, in a New Light

Bae reproduces images with cameras and light is his medium. It has been said that he “paints” through his photographs.


“Both photographs and paintings are kinds of art that capture light within a specified border. It could be meaningless to categorize these forms of art because they both revolve around light,” he stated.


The Frame will provide a new way for people to enjoy numerous forms of art, including Bae’s inspirational photographs, as the digital revolution continues to change the way we experience the world around us.


Bae still uses the film cameras pictured above, which have grown old with him during his long journey as a photographer.



The Frame Is

A lifestyle TV that transforms from a television into a gallery-like art display. The Frame is designed not only to provide a premium entertainment experience, but also to enhance the look of a home, just like a piece of artwork that the consumers would hang on their walls.


Through Art Mode, users can select to display works from Samsung Collection, Art Store or their own personal images in My Collection. Samsung Collection offers more than 100 free pieces of art, while Art Store showcases more than 600 works available for purchase.


76 percent of users who connect The Frame to the internet frequently use Art Mode, with the average time of daily operation being 5.5 hours. Meanwhile, 80 percent of users are maintaining the subscription to the Art Store, which is a similar figure compared to music and movie subscription services.


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