Barry Eitel

Fresh out of 2012, Samsung is promising that they are reinventing television for 2013.

Several months ago, the company teased about revealing “something new” at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show happening in Las Vegas later this month.

Today, they unveiled a video of the new product, an odd, seemingly translucent television. The video was posted on the “Samsung Tomorrow” blog (which is written in Samsung’s native Korean). According to the video teaser, Samsung’s latest project is engineered utilizing “an unprecedented new TV shape and timeless design.”

The striking image of the television set looks more like a window or an arty photograph. Judging from the photos and video, it’s very probable that the screen is somewhat translucent, with a snazzy bezel design. Also, the set would be positioned like a portrait, unlike the landscape format we’ve experienced television in for like, oh, sixty years.

Heavy on the goofy side, the teaser trailer proclaims this television is a gamechanger, a revolution for the industry. We’ll see how that pans out when Samsung presents the full reveal at CES 2013.

Any real facts about Samsung’s mysterious television are hard to grasp from a few promo shots and a trailer that actually reveals more-or-less nothing. But, even though the portrait format is incredibly novel, it would also be a major problem. Almost all television programming is shot in 16:9 widescreen format—would all TV shows everywhere have to be reshot?

I think most likely the television can switch between landscape and portrait mode and Samsung took the photos in portrait orientation because it is definitely tantalizing. However, the switching theory begs more questions. Can it switch remotely? Would you have to buy a rotating wall mount? And why would you ever really want to have the screen in portrait mode?

The new television, like most TV innovations currently in the works from tech titans like Apple and Google, will probably be, essentially, a giant media player. It will probably stream movies, music and pictures (hence why a portrait mode might be desirable, if it’s the best way to show off your latest photographic masterpieces).

The translucent aspect could be, potentially, very, very cool, albeit gimmicky. A television that pretty much disappears when it’s off would be neat for interior decorators, but there isn’t much practicality to it—and probably a hefty price tag. Samsung has previously released products, like refrigerators, with translucent or semi-transparent displays.

However, based on these materials, 2013 already looks like it will be a landmark year for television.