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Televisions 20 years ago were square and now they are very elongated in width, in 16: 9 format.
And it does not seem that things are going to change ... but that's when Samsung, one of the main TV manufacturers in the world, arrives and makes a TV that can be placed vertically.
It is called The Sero and it is the first of The Serif and The Frame, TVs more designed to decorate and give a different meaning to a room than to watch Netflix for 10 hours in a row, although it can also do it: it is still a smart QLED TV from Samsung.
On paper, it makes a certain sense: we consume a lot of vertical audiovisual content on mobile phones thanks to apps like Instagram or TikTok;
but a television has never been used for these purposes.
Where does this strange idea come from?
From something quite mundane: a framed photo.
"As I looked at a poster and a framed photo hanging on the wall, we realized that the portrait format is not only familiar, but fits perfectly into interior design."
Inspiration sometimes comes in unexpected ways, as Chulyong Cho, the designer of The Sero, articulates.
"So we mounted a television vertically and we watched content for a while like that. All the team members ended up agreeing that it was something fascinating, a different experience than traditional television."
Since The Sero integrates a QLED panel and has a 4K resolution, all the audiovisual content of a lifetime looks great and, beyond its design, in our product tests it fulfilled everything that is needed from a TV to Today: you can watch a chapter of The Mandalorian on Disney +, you can connect game consoles, you can watch the news from a television network ...
But The Sero is designed a little against most current TV conventions.
For starters it has a large speaker, something less and less common in modern televisions, which prefer a sound bar.
Instead of small legs, it has a large base covered with blue cloth;
and instead of being a huge screen, it stays at 47 inches, which is still a good size, but far from the current standards of 55 or 65 inches.
Cho has an answer to all these questions.
Why a single large speaker instead of another sound system?
"We realized the importance of the quality of the sound system, so this was an important part from the beginning."
Why a giant base?
"The goal of was to reimagine the look of a conventional television. [...] The Sero is in its own category. It was quite a challenge for our development team as a reliable design had to be created with a mechanism that knocked down several technological barriers ".
For the user, all this ends up summarized in a button on his remote, with which he turns the TV.
Why a somewhat smaller screen?
"On a conventional TV, the bigger the better. But what we want with The Sero is that it fits in any space, be it horizontal or vertical. After testing various sizes, we came to the conclusion that this size (47 inches) was perfect ".
Its 60-watt speaker is actually enough to make the TV hear better than other contemporaries whose integrated sound systems are much poorer.
And it is true that the base is original and that the television can fit well in places where another television does not consider putting it.
The problem is that, whether we like it or not, the audiovisual content that is consumed is still mostly horizontal.
Cho believes that this is about to change because of how consumer habits with mobile phones have advanced.
"Since we started coming up with this concept three years ago, vertical content has grown dramatically."
If you use a Samsung mobile, all the connection and interaction with The Sero is simple and very direct.
It is also possible to connect Android phones, but the process is somewhat trickier.
If you have an iPhone, forget it: they are not compatible.
Once your mobile and your TV understand each other, you can see their content as if you were doing 'mirroring', a technology already known in the Android field.
The big difference is that the TV knows when you are turning your phone to imitate the movement: if you go from reading the newspaper in the browser to watching a video on YouTube, the TV will change position on its own.
To make this possible, they had to adapt the connectivity of mobiles and televisions so that it was easy to 'launch' content from the palm of the hand to the screen of The Sero.
"The software and user interface teams gave it their all. Seamless switching between vertical and horizontal and without spoiling the experience pushed us to come up with new standards, as well as to develop new ways of connecting for users to connect to other devices".
Samsung believes that this TV fits in a multitude of lifestyles, but it is clear that it is a design object and a device that would work well as a complement to an Instagram or TikTok influencer, platforms in which vertical videos they are the most important.
The South Korean company draws with this television a triangle within its lifestyle catalog, which in 2020 would be made up of The Sero itself, "which reminds mobiles despite functioning as a television," The Serif, "which is inspired by furniture design ";
and The Frame, "whose inspiration is works of art."
For an ordinary user, it is impossible to recommend this TV unless you want it as a luxury or because you make a living uploading stories to Instagram and want to see what you do in large format.
We are still deeply rooted in the consumption of vertical content on mobile phones or tablets, if anything, and it does not seem that that will change yet.
You have to be very convinced that you are going to take advantage of the particularity of your design.
Which does not mean that The Sero could be a great attraction for an art gallery or even for a presentation room in a large company, because surely the client on duty will be impressed if you show him something on a television that turns on its own .
But for its price and its benefits, there are conventional televisions better designed for a living room in a house.
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