LAS VEGAS -- In one of the more dramatic demos in recent International Consumer Electronics Show history, Samsung Electronics revealed today (Jan. 5) a line of smart HDTVs with frames, known as bezels, no wider than a standard No. 2 pencil.
The effect? LCD TVs with displays of up to 75 (190 centimeters) inches that appear frameless.
The new TVs were hung on a display wall on the stage with what appeared to be standard bezels. Samsung's executive vice president, David Steel, led his associate to the wall and said, "I think we can do a little bit better.”
He effortlessly removed a fake bezel, revealing an almost invisible surround. The packed room at the Venetian Hotel burst into applause.
"A year ago, we stood before you with this pencil to show how thin our 2010 models were," Steel said.
Indeed, the bezel measured just 0.2 inches wide (5 mm), the width of the now-famous Samsung pencil, an 80 percent reduction from previous models.
The reduction in bezel size means consumers can enjoy a larger viewing screen and wider viewing angle without having to increase the size of their TVs. The new 8000 series features a discreet metal bezel, and the 7000 series sports a thin black band surrounded by clear acrylic.
Samsung plasma TVs got the same shrinking-frame treatment, though not quite as dramatic as their LCD counterparts. The 2011 Series 6 plasma lineup will be offered in displays of 43, 51, 59 and 64 inches (109, 129, 150, 169 cm), adding a full inch of screen space on all four sides without increasing the overall size of the set.
In other announcements, Samsung expressed its commitment to the success of 3-D TVs, despite mixed opinions from analysts.
"Three-D TV sales have surpassed 1 million units in the U.S. market already, which is doing better than LED TV sales at the same point," Steel said.
He said he expects 6 million 3-D TVs will be sold this year.
To fuel those sales, the company plans to reduce the cost of acquiring a 3-D entertainment system – 3-D TV, Blu-ray player, 3-D glasses and content – by more than two-thirds.