Samsung teases TV with "unprecedented" design


January 1, 2013

Is Samsung crazy enough to release a portrait-mode TV?

Is Samsung crazy enough to release a portrait-mode TV?

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When we talk about revolutionizing television, we usually mean new approaches to content and connectivity, expecting the television's form factor to remain roughly the same. But if a new teaser is any indication, Samsung may turn that idea on its head … or perhaps on its side.

In a CES 2013 teaser image (pictured above), Samsung shows a glimpse of a TV that eschews common expectations about televisions. The minimalist set appears to be sitting in portrait mode. Some have speculated that it's also sporting a translucent display.

Something new?

A portrait-mode television would be novel, but hardly practical. Most programming is shot in 16:9 widescreen format. Either Samsung's engineers have been drinking too much eggnog, or this teaser isn't what it seems.

What Samsung could be teasing is a set that rotates between landscape and portrait. Perhaps its base or wall mount is designed for easy (remote?) rotation between the two orientations. But why would you want a TV that sits in portrait mode?

Samsung AirPlay?

A mirrored Galaxy S III display looks pretty good on the teased image (Original Samsung image digitally altered by Gizmag)

One possibility is an AirPlay-like local streaming service. As you see in the above rendering, a mirrored Galaxy S III display would be right at home on the teased television. Apart from some letterboxing on the sides, it's a good fit for mirrored smartphone or tablet content.

This would potentially solve a problem with display mirroring. When using Apple's AirPlay mirroring, portrait content is tiny and crunched. Vertically-oriented games like Cut the Rope are dominated by huge black blocks on either side. A TV that easily rotates could be one answer.

Perhaps Samsung is ready to accelerate its push for the connected living room, and a rotating HDTV plays a part in that.


At first glance, the teaser also appears to show a translucent display. But if you look closely, the TV's display doesn't match the background. The background appears to show a beach's water line, while the horizon on the TV's screen appears to be land.

If Samsung is playing with translucency, there is some precedent. Last year, the company demonstrated semi-transparent displays for use in refrigerators and virtual billboards.

Like a portrait-mode HDTV, though, there are few logical reasons to make a see-through television display unless it is designed to also serve as a window.

Stay tuned

Teaser images are designed to get our attention, and this one has succeeded. Is Samsung really making a translucent TV that sits in portrait mode? Or is it part of a greater push to own the 21st century living room? We'll find out next week at CES 2013.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow, via The Verge

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

Well, if you look at the shadows that are cast by the screen it certainly suggests that it is translucent...

Jan Fellstrom

it could be that they will make a larger tv 47-55 wide by 70-80 tall and the normal tv program would appear in the upper portion and web content would be displayed in the lower area. maybe even give capability to make variable split screen for such capabilities

Frank Fain

Looks to be their foray into the 3D OLED market. This technology also has other industrial applications; for example, in automobile windows for heads-up displays and advertising.

In the convergence of phone, computer/internet and TV, it would make sense to offer a large screen product that can receive all three inputs. When not engaged for one of these pursuits, a screen that can be configured to show art or pictures (in portrait or landscape) would be a little bit of icing on the $3000 cake...


Thanks Will, for a nicely formatted story line! But, as far as viewing regular TV programming on this device, I'm not sure we really need to see more sky in trade for less content. However, there may be a market for this with Tea Party types, and others with extremely narrow viewpoints. Ya never know.....


Looks more like digital signage to me. I saw a smallish Samsung translucent panel a while back that formed a "glass" case around a real product. Pretty cool way to promote the next Gucci handbag

Paul van Dinther

Maybe it's not a TV ? Maybe its a new version of photo frame that plays your photos from your smartphone? Yes, it could also double as a large gaming screen when not showing photos.

Gavin Keats

Narrow (vertical) display looks stylish, and new... it brings "apple" feel to a regular PC. On many public displays (airports, rail stations, exhibits, etc) vertical screens are used to bring futuristic/expensive look, but it's only regular screen at 90 degrees, with a flashy casing. One company can do a "new" thing by doing a very easy modification, and sell it as a brand new, "fresh" technology.

I think if a big company finds a way to present vertical screens as "new", they could hit big, specialy with iPhone fans. Btw, I use one regular and one upright screen for a while now... and the vertical one is really useful. Surfing is a lot easier on a vertical screen, more of the content fits in, it's easier to read, and it has a nice feel to it.

Vertical videos look fashionable, and cool. I'm just saying... and yes, I know, "say no to vertical video, and old Mila Kunis" is a very funny YT video.


I think it's a wormhole, oriented in portrait to avoid us bumping our heads.

Marcus Carr

If you had enough money you could replace your windows with these and use a camera to capture the view outside and display it on the screens. Why bother? You could also display a view from a mountain top or a beach or.... You heve surely seen a row of expensive houses up on a bluff over looking the valley, city, lake etc. This could do the same for a lot less money. And if it were raining here and not there you could look at there if you wanted to.


I am sure that portrait view is more suitable for mobile devices. But, Samsung has created portrait view for television viewers. Hence samsung makes something different in it.


It's none of the above.

Forget about the portrait orientation; that's just there to through you off. I think it's simply a teaser of future technology that they'll demo in prototype form.

It's probably a new type of 3-D television that projects eye-safe laser light into the environment that casts shadows... just like what happens with light coming through a window. Even cooler if the scene is computed from 3-D objects. Then, if a computed light source were behind an object in the scene, the shadow cast by the object would flow into the living space... just like objects outside of your window do when the sun is behind them.

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