Check out Samsung’s oddly retro but elegant new 4K HDR TV, the “Serif”

by on July 17, 2016

Stephan Jukic – July 17, 2016

Talk about a swing into oddly exotic and almost retro 4K TV designs. While Samsung is particularly known among design-conscious TV manufacturers for the elegant and simple beauty of its 4K UHD TVs for at least the last couple years running, the company’s new and highly unusual looking Serif TV takes home theater design into a couple of interesting new aesthetic directions.

With the Serif, professional artistic designers Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec took a good look at the long distant past of home electronics technology for the style they chose and the influence is definitely visible in the Serif. This is a TV which immediately reminds at least this writer of something from a “futuristic” 1970’s science fiction movie idea of what a TV would look like in the early 21st century and we can probably suppose that this was the exact intent of the Bouroullec brothers and Samsung, which commissioned their design.

However, while the Serif externally resembles something very much retro, internally its technology is pure 2016 4K display innovation. This of course means that the Serif offers up full 4K resolution, the very best of Samsung’s HDR capabilities equal to those of their 2016 SUHD TVs and also comes with the connectivity specs of a fully modern premium ultra HD television. On the other hand, at only 40 inches in terms of display space, the Serif is definitely a smaller model which does little justice to its 4K chops. This is likely the main reason this highly artisanal 4K TV is selling for “only” about $1500.


Moving back to its admittedly cool design though, the Serif has been built by designers whose main previous experience centered around elegantly creative furnishings like chairs, tables and supposedly incredibly comfortable couches. As a result, the TV is designed to blend in with a home’s comfort instead of sticking out from it as many 4K TVs do. According to Erwan Bouroullec,

When you’re young and doing a new subject, you’re possibly going to make many errors, but you’re also possibly going to discover a new direction. There’s a lot of rules, and you don’t know them. You work through them without even knowing.”


As for the TVs also odd name, one look at the television from either side immediately reveals why it’s called the “Serif” –because from either side, this model looks just like a bold capital “I” in the Serif font. According to the brothers, this result wasn’t even intentional, it simply turned out that way and the name for the Samsung 4K TV came up as a result.

The frame of the Serif is available in either white or extremely dark, nearly black blue tones and the motion controlled remote, TV’s user interface and cable management system are also all custom designed aspects of the TV courtesy of the Bouroullec brothers. Thus, with this particular television, buyers and users will have on their hands a user experience that’s unlike anything else in Samsung’s regular 4K TV lineup for 2015 and 2016. The TVs UI is still however built atop the Tizen smart platform so despite its superficial differences, it delivers the same high quality functionality as the 2016 TV OS from the company.


The TV’s unique cable management system is also worth explaining a bit more. It reveals itself when the fabric coated, magnetically attached back panel of the Serif is removed. Here a groove in the back of the television runs connections for power, HDMI and other connections. The TV also features an interesting screen saver called “Curtain Mode” which hides anything behind it with an overlay that’s designed to look like translucent drapes whose color and opacity can be changed.

As we alluded to above, the Serif is going on sale in Europe and South Korea as a series of TVs in different sizes but at least for now, the model’s U.S release comes in just one size of 40 inches and one price of $1500.

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  • Ben Ballard
    July 18, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Wow! it’s about time some more Artisanal sets were available to us, and it looks like Samsung have started the trail a-blazing! Whilst I love the design of this, I’d be very keen to read a full specs and performance review when it becomes available more readily? There’s only really one “Artisanal” set available on the market which is Pana’s TX50DX802 with the easel stand. However Pana didn’t really think this design through 100% in my opinion. They put it on a stand that looks like it should swivel (useful for if you want to lay on the floor and splurge out with a film or have a Netflix indoor picnic binge session), however, the point where the frame fixes to the TV is, fixed! Very disappointing in my opinion. It was a bit of a let down when I got it out of the box and tried to move the screen and then found that it wouldn’t, but anyway I digress.

    I’d love to see something on the 55″ scale to get an idea of it in all it’s standalone glory. It reminds me a little of the Golf Ball design TV in that was produced in the 70’s… I love the juxtaposition of a high gloss frame finish and the matt tone of the screen. Having showcased this design though, it throws up a lot of extra questions for myself –

    > I’m curious as to how the screen works, will it also be totally transparent?
    > Will it mount on the wall as well (depending on the weight, perhaps a picture hanging type set up?), so that it looks like an art installation with your favourite images displayed as a slideshow?
    > Is there any word on a UK/ Europe release?
    > Are Samsung going to do a Serif series speaker release with perhaps the same frame and an electrostatic speaker set up?

    This curious piece of kit throws up more questions than answers at the moment, and I shall be keeping a very close eye on the TV movings in the near future…. especially if you guys get a decent sized one to play with!


  • MrSatyre
    July 18, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Take it from someone in the FPD industry, this is a very bad design. You can easily see in the images above just how much of the extended bezel reflects off the screen, and these screens aren’t even on. When on, the light from the TV will be reflected off the of the bezels and be a huge distraction; conversely, light from the room will be reflected from the bezel and onto the screen. That was a serious issue for countless consumers back in the early days of flat panel TVs, and those bezels were much, much smaller that this new design.


  • Dr. leroy Poop
    July 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    rip off


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