Yesterday afternoon, Samsung announced plans to introduce 55- and 65-inch UHD TVs into its S9 (Series 9) line-up of 2013 TVs. This ultra-high definition series has previously only been available in 85- and 110-inch iterations—so while Samsung isn't technically splitting anything in half, it is dividing the 110-inch into more bite-sized versions.
This matters for a couple of reasons. The first reason is also the most obvious: price. Samsung's massive UHD displays just happen to cost massive amounts of money—the 110-inch S9, for example, costs about $40,000. By offering 55- and 65-inch models, Samsung is tempting buyers with prices below $10,000. Yes, tempting is the word I wanted there.
The second reason is more technical, and much less obvious. Anyone familiar with Apple's recent "Retina Display" marketing may have an idea about what human eyes can and can't resolve when it comes to pixels on a screen. Retina Displays refers to a display's pixels per inch, or PPI, which has everything to do with how realistically that display renders content. The more pixels packed into a square inch space, the more detail allocated to that space, the less chance human eyes will realize there are pixels at all. The higher the PPI, the more realism afforded.
How does this apply to smaller UHD TVs? Smaller screens mean smaller pixels. Smaller pixels mean you can watch the screen at a closer distance, without the risk of seeing those pixels. Really, an 85- or 110-inch TV is going to look pixelated at viewing distances much shorter than 6–10 feet, simply due to the size of the pixels. Samsung's proffered 55- and 65-inch UHD TVs pack 8.2 million pixels into a smaller space than their large-screened forebears—so while they won't be as awe-inspiring in size, you'll be able to sit and watch at much closer distances, and your eyes won't even notice the size difference.
Considering both the pricing and viewing practicality of these new sizes, we're hoping to see them come stateside.
Top image courtesy of user: samsungtomorrow, Flickr CC-2.0