Clarification: Samsung unveiled a television prototype with a screen that bends on demand, but that is not the same as the curved-screen, 105-inch television the firm is expected to begin selling this year.
LAS VEGAS — What’s the resolution on the TV in your living room? 1080p? That’s peanuts compared with this monster that Samsung unveiled Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show — a 105-inch behemoth that displays ultra-high definition, or at least 2160p.
And the most mind-boggling part? The screen is curved.
And Samsung sees the potential to push this technology further in the future — it showed off a prototype television that bends on demand. With the touch of a remote, the ends of this Samsung television pops out of its housing and bend toward the viewer. Anyone who’s played a first-person shooter or a racing game knows that peripheral vision can provide a big advantage.
“The wider field of view and panoramic effect draws viewers in,” said Joe Stinziano, the senior vice president of sales for Samsung’s consumer electronics division.
Samsung and LG kicked off the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas with a lineup of curved-screen TVs that both say could change the way we look at our television — though it’s an unclear whether there is an audience for such pricey, niche products.
Samsung is working with content producers in Hollywood to ensure that there’s enough high-quality content for its ultra-high-definition screens, said H.S. Kim, Samsung’s executive vice president of visual displays. That will provide four times the display quality of a normal television and true color accuracy, he said.
All of Samsung’s curved televisions will have smart capabilities that allow viewers to use the Web while watching television, company officials said. For example, users will be able to watch a football game while also looking up stats and the weather at the stadium using apps that run on the television.
Sure, it’s a bit of overkill, particularly since even the newest consoles such as the Xbox One top out at 1080p. The best gaming equipment on Earth can’t take advantage of what Samsung has to offer here — not yet.
Samsung also didn’t say how much the curved-screen televisions will cost — though its lower-resolution curved-screen 55-inch television retails for $9,000. The television that changes shape on demand is still a prototype, and company officials didn’t say when or if it would be offered to the public.
LG said its curved television will give viewers a better, immersive picture and let them take full advantage of ultra HD video. The firm was tight-lipped about the pricing on these televisions, but they’re likely to cost a pretty penny. The 105-inch television the firm announced just ahead of the show costs a whopping $69,999.
Meanwhile, the firm also showed off curved-screen smartphones. Its flexible, curved smartphone, the LG G Flex, will hit the U.S. market with three of the four major carriers — AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — in the second quarter of 2014. And while it would be easy to dismiss the curved screen as a gimmick, LG executives were adamant that they were not just “innovating for innovation’s sake.”
The G Flex, which is available in some international markets, has a curved screen that the company says improves video quality and boosts audio quality when held against the face. It also makes it more comfortable when the phone is slipped into a pocket. The phone has a six-inch display. T-Mobile said in a statement Monday that it will release its pricing and availability for the phone in the coming weeks.
Curved screens offer a glimpse into a future where bendy displays are everywhere — not just in your palm or in your living room. And when our gaming technology catches up, “Call of Duty” will never be the same again.
Fung reported from Washington.
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