Not long ago, we ran a feature about Samsung’s striking new curved TVs, a mostly-aesthetic form-factor which has drawn both praise and vitriol from the public for its gimmicky nature. But if you can’t decide whether the curved craze is your cup of tea – and you happen to live in Korea – there’s no longer any need to choose: Samsung has announced that it will soon take orders for its stranger-than-fiction bendable TV in its home country starting August 1.
As reported by CNet, the announcement for sales of the 78-inch curve-if-you-want to monster was posted in the company’s Korean Samsung Tomorrow page. No price was given, but several outlets, including The Verge and Mashable, have reported that the TV is expected to fetch 35 million won, or around $34,000 – a hefty price, no doubt, but nowhere near the $120,000 Samsung is asking for its 105-inch mast of a display, which the company has also recently offered up for sale to the affluent viewing public.
We first caught wind of the bendable TV back in January, when Samsung unveiled its 85-inch UB9 in spectacular fashion in front of the Bellagio casino fountain at CES. The TV wowed onlookers who seemed to be dazed with a mix of intrigue and incredulity as it opened and closed at the touch of a button. Originally conceived as a one-off prototype, the TV apparently grasped the hearts of the public with enough fervor for Samsung to put it into production, slated to arrive for purchase in the U.S. sometime in late 2014. The 78-inch UN78S9B appears to be the Korean preview.
Though the bendable TV concept does have some small measure of practicality, designed to wrap around for cinematic events and flatten out for everyday use, the attention-grabbing display appears to be yet another shell fired from Samsung’s look-what-we-can-do TV lineup. For sometime now, Samsung and its South Korean compatriot/rival LG have fought to create displays that pique the public’s curiosity, but their competitive natures have gotten the best of them. Their TVs often offer more pageantry and sticker shock than practicality.
Still, as we mentioned in our previous story, there is something to be said about a good gimmick. Bendable TVs probably won’t make their way to homes of anyone outside of the one percent, but they push the limits of conception, not only for what manufacturers can actually create, but also the fundamental idea about what a TV can be. The past decade or so has been very good to both Samsung and LG. And if they have the will — and the cash — to flex their TV might in a very literal fashion, who are we to judge? We’ll patiently await LG’s nearly-inevitable follow-up.
Those outside of Korea looking for the ultimate cinematic means to upstage the Johnson’s will have to wait until the bendable display makes its way stateside. In the meantime, we’ll keep tabs on this story and let you know of any further developments as they appear.