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Samsung teases CES unveiling of HDTV with 'unprecedented new shape'

Samsung, one of Apple's chief rivals, is hyping the announcement of a brand new HDTV set with an "unprecedented new shape" at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show.

The South Korean electronics maker recently a video on its YouTube Page teasing the upcoming product announcement. The advertisement shows a number of anthropomorphized television sets, most of them in a widescreen 16:9 format that currently dominates the marketplace, racing across town to see Samsung's latest TV.

At the end of the video, a device taller than it is wide is shown covered by a white sheet. As the camera zooms in, the upper portion of the set lights up, revealing a traditional 16:9 widescreen display up top, hidden behind the sheet.

In addition, Samsung also posted a press release last week boasting that "true innovation of TV design is coming up with an unprecedented new TV shape and timeless gallery design." An accompanying image shows a rectangle that looks like a widescreen HDTV turned on its side, into "portrait" mode rather than "landscape."

With Samsung's announcement and the news that Intel is expected to launch a new cable service and accompanying set-top box, this year's CES is shaping up once again to focus on the future of television. Last year, HDTVs were also the big attraction, though whispers that Apple could release its own full-fledged television set were characterized as the "elephant in the room" at the 2011 CES.

Last year, Samsung introduced new HDTV sets with Siri-like voice control and motion detection for controller-free input. The company also unveiled its "Smart Evolution" concept that will allow select models to be upgraded each year by installing hardware kits to add new features, rather than buying an entirely new television set.

Apple doesn't appear at the annual CES tradeshow, but earlier this month the company's CEO, Tim Cook, did fan the flames on rumors that his company is working on a television set or a expanded set-top box functionality. In an interview with NBC's Rock Center, Cook said current televisions make him feel like he's "gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," and he admitted that the television market is an area of "intense interest" for Apple.