Samsung teases TV with "unprecedented" design
January 1, 2013
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.
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?
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.
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.
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