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Samsung's CES TV Surprise Is Blowing Our Minds

By Sam Biddle on at

The great Vegas gadget circus is only days away, and we've got a feeling big, beautiful TVs are going to be front and center. 4K! OLED! Wonderful stuff. But Samsung is teasing something that's either brilliant or insane. We can't tell.

It's not uncommon for companies to try to drum up hype with vague teasers. But it's usually pretty easy to guess generally what they're talking about. A new, faster phone. A bigger tablet. Just because you see a Photoshop mockup of a gadget covered by a shadow doesn't mean it's anything worth caring about.

But is Samsung hinting at a portrait-oriented TV? Are they actually going to show us an HDTV that's rotated 90 degrees sideways? Am I seeing correctly? The picture above—what looks like a tree inside a picture frame on a beach—doesn't mean much of anything. But read this:

A true innovation of TV design is coming up with an unprecedented new TV shape and timeless gallery design…

A new TV shape? As opposed to... a wide rectangle? What new shape could a TV possible arrive in that wouldn't completely alienate anyone who's ever watched a TV?

There seem to be two options:

Samsung might be selling an extra-widescreen, 21:9 anamorphic TV. Vizio's already done it. It's technically a different shape than your standard 16:9 set, and hey, you could watch Star Wars without any letterboxing, which makes me weep. Maybe it'll be a 4k anamorphic set, which would make monied cinemaphies shriek. This would be a dreamy TV.

But it doesn't look like that damn picture frame, which is taller than it is wide. Which leads to option two.

Samsung is going to sell a TV that's taller than it is wide. Which sounds insane, and impossible, and sort of awfully bizarre or bizarrely awful. We can only imagine the extra vertical space would be used for "smart TV" widgets (a nightmarish vision), or, what, watching three video sources at once? One video with the largest letterboxing in history? We're scratching our heads and rubbing our eyes—but we'll have the answer within a week.

Oh, and Samsung: if this is just a thinner TV or something, we're going to strangle you, and then ourselves. [Samsung at CES]