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Samsung Banks on Bendable TVs to Save Its Display Division

TMCnet Feature

January 07, 2014

Samsung Banks on Bendable TVs to Save Its Display Division

By Rory Lidstone
TMCnet Contributing Writer

While the Internet is abuzz about Samsung’s CES (News - Alert) presentation mostly because of Michael Bay’s sudden exit from the stage (he seemed to get flustered over some teleprompter issues), the Korean electronics giant did have some interesting products on display as well. The most prominent offering was the very product Bay was there to help pitch, a 105-inch curved, ultra high definition TV.

Ok, well, we’ve all seen curved TVs before from both Samsung (News - Alert) and its home country rival LG, so what’s the big deal this time? Aside from the fact that the set really pulls out all the stops in terms of known technology — its size, resolution and OLED construction are the high-end features of the near future — it also introduces something new: the ability to bend.

The set is, at this stage, nothing more than a concept model, and it should honestly remain that way, since it’s hard to imagine what practical benefits being able to swap from flat to curved viewing offers. In fact, Samsung and LG have made it clear that they believe curved viewing is roundly superior, claiming it reduces distortion when watched at an angle, while providing better viewer immersion. And yet, EVP for Samsung’s TV business Kim Hyun Suk said the company plans to release its bendable TV in the second half of 2014.

Many are suggesting that Samsung is grasping at straws here, as consumer interest in televisions has declined to the point that even Korean manufacturers, which previously managed to maintain TV profitability, have started to feel the effects. Indeed, Bloomberg (News - Alert) says the bendable TV announcement came shortly before Samsung posted its first drop in operating profit in nine quarters, with profit in the display division likely down four percent.

So, Samsung is pulling out all of its big guns, including putting the Tizen operating system in its TVs, along with OLED technology and, yes, even bendable displays. Unfortunately, even in cases where the benefits are worth noting, as with OLED technology, consumers just don’t seem interested.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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