TV as Sculpture?

Samsung S9W Ultra HDTV

I tried to imagine the S9W at home but quickly realized my rustic family room is no match for its art-gallery vibe. Although I have to admit, when I first laid eyes on its magnificent 82-inch Ultra HD screen with its cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio, I wondered why it was perched, just shy of teetering, on a compact refrigerator. Refreshments at hand, perhaps? No, that wasn’t it. (Not even close, knucklehead.)

The design aesthetic is the product of Samsung’s collaboration with renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, founder of, who described his inspiration in a recent blog. “We have admired paintings displayed on walls for centuries, but an image on a curve instantly becomes a sculpture. The curved arc rests upon a gallery-like cube, reminding us of a classical sculpture on a plinth.” (What do I know.) Actually, the screen is suspended above the base, creating the impression that it is floating in thin air.

But the cube has a more mundane purpose as well: It’s a place to stash associated electronics—including a subwoofer and a motorized swiveling mechanism—which enables the screen to be as thin as possible. It also sets the stage for a little magic. When you turn on the TV, the screen pivots toward the viewer and the top of the cube rises, revealing an inner light and giving the woofer room to breathe. “We constantly look for touches of the unexpected: moments, details, materials that add an element of surprise,” Behar explained.

Of course, the S9W is about more than just artful design—it makes a bold technology statement, too. The ultra-wide screen is a perfect fit for 2.35:1 movies and features a dramatic “4200R” curvature, intended to provide an optimal experience for viewers sitting 10 to 13 feet from the screen. A “panorama extension algorithm” judiciously stretches 16:9 content for an extended image that’s said to look more natural than the funhouse stretch modes you get with some TVs.

The S9W is built around Samsung’s new flagship “SUHD” platform, which uses nanocrystal (quantum dot) backlighting to provide “twice the color adjustment points and 64 times more color expression than conventional TVs.” SUHD models also incorporate high dynamic range technology, which makes images look more lifelike by significantly boosting peak brightness with specially encoded content (which is not yet available). Samsung is working with 20th Century Fox and Netflix to bring such content to market later this year (not to be confused with Warner Bros.’ plan to release movies with Dolby Vision encoding).

Pricing was not available as of this writing, but delivery is imminent (spring). To give you an idea of the ballpark we’re playing in, the 105-inch S9 model Samsung introduced last year goes for a cool $120k.

jnemesh's picture

MSRP is $119,999.99 Get yours now!

nicowaz's picture

Is there a chance that one day there will be an even bigger flat screen that would replace projectors?