Part II. A timeless gallery design that redefines the space we live in
New category of TV emerges at CES 2013
Ahead of the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is the global stage for the latest consumer electronics, a panel of innovation award judges came together to choose the winner of the CES 2013 Innovation Award.
What grabbed the judges’ attention was the 85S9, Samsung Electronics’ 85-inch Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV.
Many people consider a standard TV set to be comprised of a panel, neck and stand; however, the 85S9 was recognized for the elegant harmony between its understated yet sophisticated black frame, as well as the slim yet strong panel within the frame.
27 Samsung Electronics products received the CES 2013 Innovation Award, including six products in the TV category.
In addition to the CES 2013 Innovation Award, each year the Best of Innovations Award is presented to a product that receives the highest rating in design and technology, regardless of which product category it is in. In 2013, the 85S9 received the Best of Innovations Award for its unique design that completely breaks away from the standard rules of TV design.
01. Satisfying the needs of the premium consumer market
Samsung Electronics has continuously set new standards in the mass TV and premium TV markets. The company’s designs and cutting-edge technologies have led trends by creating innovations based market and consumer needs. These factors have enabled the company to assume leadership for seven consecutive years in the global TV market; however, the company recognized the need to push further and advance into the upper premium TV market.
The lifestyles of potential customers in the ‘upper premium TV’ segment were also important to consider. Under the assumption that customers want to maintain their lifestyles, the 85S9 needed to blend into the living environment and interior décor seamlessly.
These customers prefer a TV that has an upscale gallery feel, blends into the home’s interior décor, and adds dignity to the space. But it was challenging to express a sense of existence with the ultra-large TV if we were to use previous TV designs that included a stand, neck and panel. We even tried the ZEN style (a Far East design aesthetic highlighting extreme simplicity and minimal decoration), which made the living space simple and relaxing by placing the TV on a low stand. However, it ultimately did not give off the upscale gallery feel.
02. A completely ‘new form’ found nowhere else in the world
We needed to solve a problem first. Samsung Electronics clearly defined the goal of developing a TV with timeless value based on its unique identity. But there was one problem: the evolution of the panel.
Panels played a pivotal role in the development of new TV designs. Every year, panels were made to adopt a slimmer, understated form even with the addition of various functions. They were also upgraded with new materials.
However, Samsung Electronics came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to deliver a timeless product if focus was to be placed on a TV body-centered design. After countless considerations of diverse body form designs, Samsung created the “frame” concept, which allowed for a unique identity regardless of what could be contained inside the frame, or the application of new technologies. The concept was also aligned with the company’s policy of making the 85S9 into an ultra-large product measuring at least 85 inches. This was in accordance with our decision to apply the 85S9 to products of various dimensions.
Samsung sought to have the TV’s elegant frame and panel serve as the center of the respective space. Rather than a home appliance, Samsung wanted the TV to become part of the interior décor as a piece of high-quality furniture that enhanced the value of the user’s home.
To achieve this, the company placed much emphasis on hiding mechanical parts so as to not detract from the 85S9’s understated design. Further, the design of the 85S9 incorporated recent technology trends of TV panels becoming slimmer and clearer, and speakers becoming thicker. For instance, four out of the total six speakers of the 85S9 were installed directly within the frame for enhanced sound quality.
With the 85S9, Samsung Electronics created a completely new form of a premium TV that embodies future technologies, emphasizes timeless value and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
03. ‘Character’ and an ‘understated style’ as two key, uncompromised elements
When the time came to develop the innovative idea into an actual product the first challenge was the product size. The TV model was set to 85 inches, yet the measurements of the frame alone exceeded 95 inches. Also, since the TV was more like a new device that combined a TV set and an audio system, there was much consideration about the number of parts that were included in the device.
Team members examined colors and textures by using hundreds of sample art pieces. They then worked day and night for several days to develop a complete prototype of the 85-inch TV. Once the prototype was completed, a new challenge presented itself: the team members could not move the prototype to the first floor of the building because of its large size. Therefore, they had to disassemble the product, take it to the yard and reassemble it there. Despite the late hour and rain, the team members meticulously disassembled and reassembled the prototype, reminding themselves of what the executives had said: “This is an important product that embodies Samsung Electronics’ spirit. We need to make a near-perfect prototype.”
Facility investments were also needed. The desired premium quality could not be achieved with the previous plating bath, since the frame had to be tilted and plated two or three times. The team decided to invest in a plating bath where the entire frame could be submerged. And a kind of aluminum, normally used in high-speed trains, was also used for the frame.
An unprecedented processing method was used to achieve the desired elegant exterior. Using this method, it took about three hours to process the stand of the frame. Normally, it takes just one minute to make around 60 ordinary TV stands. This gives you and idea of how much time, cost and effort are needed to make the 85S9.
During the development process, the company’s design policy of making the 85S9 itself shine through extremely understated lines and great detail was not comprised.
The greatest challenge for the team was the 85S9’s sound. The TV’s speaker capacity is 120 watts, which is about six times the speaker capacity of general TVs (20 watts). The problem was that a great number of screws were needed to prevent the TV’s vibration, which resulted from the grand sound. However, the number of screws was minimized as much as possible with the goal of creating a UHD TV with the most ideal design. The employees looked everywhere to find top-quality fabric to cover the frame and speaker in order to transmit sound. In the end, the team successfully developed a technology that resolved the vibration issue, while arranging all the screws inside of the TV set. And in sound quality tests, the 85S9 received recognition for providing sound quality as advanced as world-leading home theater manufacturers.
As far as the back of the TV, the team pursued a ‘clean back’ despite the potential complications in terms of usability and assembly. Samsung’s technologies were used to organize the air-belt, woofer, circuit board and power board in the rear, and the cables and wires were addressed with a single socket.
04. Change in all processes related to the 85S9
The development of a TV with its own unique character – and one that would create a new category – presented the need for a fundamental change in product sales, installation, customer engagement, and understanding. As a result, Samsung Electronics launched a special taskforce team comprised of specialists from design, machine development, marketing, logistics, and customer satisfaction.
The first step of the taskforce team was to develop an understanding of the potential customers of premium TVs and their environments. Team members carried out a thorough assessment of customers who purchased 75 inch TVs in Korea and abroad. They analyzed the customers’ residences, life patterns, home structure, distribution environment, and even the elevator size and stair width in their buildings.
Their assessments led to the discovery that elevators of multi-purpose buildings in Korea were not large enough to carry the 85S9. Even if a freight elevator or ladder truck were to be used to move the 85S9, it would not be easy to move the TV set inside the veranda and to turn the TV set around corners. A decision was made to adopt a shipment method in which the frame and panel are separated before the TV set is put into an elevator.
The team members also had to research the marketing space where customers would first encounter the 85S9 and what these customers expect from the TV thoroughly. Insufficient preparations would make it impossible to release the 85S9 in the market. Therefore, the taskforce is creating an ‘optimal manual’ addressing all of these questions.
Additionally, the company formulated a policy to sell the product at major premium stores in advanced markets, including the US and Europe. The stores’ display, shipment, and distribution statuses are thoroughly inspected by the team as well.
During the phase of gathering research on customers’ thoughts and environments, minor elements of the 85S9 continued to evolve. The panel movement angles and the TV’s height were slightly adjusted. In addition, quality inspection criteria for partner companies were strengthened. A decision was made to have a group of six people to ship and install the TV product.
Additionally, the sequence in which the product is unpackaged in the customer’s living room was determined. A sense of simplicity and understatement was emphasized even for the connection points, where the separated frame and panel are assembled into one. Samsung discovered that the 85S9’s target consumers in the premium segment do not want interference in their lifestyles. For example, it would not be good to have the customers see the installation personnel busily installing the product. Based on this understanding, the taskforce members conducted a detailed analysis to develop a way of assembling the connection points.
05. Game-changing innovation
Samsung Electronics has been the leader in the global market for the last seven years. The company introduced truly innovative TV designs by adding warmth and emotion, as evident in the design the Bordeaux TV (2006) and Touch Of Color (2008).
While the 85S9 underscores the company’s leadership in design and innovation, Samsung understands that succeeding in the upper premium TV market involves more than assuming market leadership by simply developing a TV that leads others in size and technology. In addition, the hearts of customers cannot be won by simply leading in trends.
Understanding this, Samsung created a new standard for premium TVs through a unique identity of its own. The company aimed to create something that consumers in the premium market are willing to invest in, offers an unprecedented level of class and character, and that has sustainable value in that it can embrace any kind of technological innovation. With the 85S9, Samsung has changed the game of the TV category.
The 85S9 will unveil unprecedented class and value at the CES2013. It will be released in 2013 targeting the premium consumer market globally.
*All functionality features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.
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