After establishing a bit of a niche for producing high-performance smart TVs that can fold up to save space, Austrian company C Seed has refined and approached its ambitious approach to home cinema with the C Seed N1 TV. Available in three sizes – 103-inches, 137-inches and a monstrous 165-inches – the 4K MicroLED TV has the very unique selling point of being able to completely change shape, folding down to become a rather slick minimalist sculpture when not in use.
Yes, C Seed has been at this foldable TV thing for a few years now and while ambitious, the company has never seemed to get logistics right. Last year’s $500,000 C Seed M1 was also a 4K MicroLED TV that had very much the same idea, except that the installation was apparently a nightmare. The M1 was designed to rise up out of the floor, which meant users would have needed to take out a significant chunk of their flooring to store the TV when not in use. It wasn’t practical for people who didn’t have the luxury to build a house around A TV instead of the other way around.
Now the C Seed N1 reapproaches from the same angle but in a much more reasonable way. The TV features interlocking MicroLED panels that smoothly combine to form a 4K panel, sitting on an elegant aluminium base that can simply be placed on the floor of any space. When the TV is not in use, it can automatically fold up into said minimalist sculpture, looking more like you’ve got an avant grade metal block sitting in the living room rather than a fully functional and incredibly large 4K TV.
The more impressive function is how the sculpture slowly transforms into the C Seed N1 TV. As you can see from the YouTube video above, the slow, graceful movements of the different panels make the transformation look like pure art. Using a proprietary Adaptive Gap Calibration technology, the panels all lock into place seamlessly, with no gaps visible, to present a MicroLED TV that has been carefully designed to provide excellent contrast and colour accuracy as well as reduce glare and support both HDR and HDR10+. Both “smaller” sizes have a peak brightness of 1,000 nits while the larger one maxes out at 800 nits. All displays have a very fluid refresh rate of up to 3,840 Hz with 16-bit colour processing.
Once fully opened, the panel can be rotated 180° left and right, giving you easy access to the back panel which has five HDMI and two USB slots. The speakers on board this TV should also sound quite good seeing as it’s all powered by a 100-watt sound system featuring broadband speakers designed with a wide soundstage in mind.
If it all sounds very Bang & Olufsen then perhaps it’s because C Seed was founded in 2009 by two former B&O managers. The Austrian company is known for stunning design-forward technology in the same vein as the more well-known Danish company. Although this approach really is a first in the realm of consumer technology, it finally looks like C Seed has graduated from inaccessible, overly ambitious concepts that no normal person would touch to viable consumer models that reasonably cashed-up folk might actually buy.
That being said, you’re still looking at a fairly hefty price tag (and weight) for the TV. If you want the 165-inch, you’ll need to be able to handle 1,350kg sitting in your living room. The unit is available in silver, gold, black and titanium and reportedly costs around US$184,223 (~AU$270,478).