This TV Follows Your Phone to Rotate Between Portrait and Landscape Modes — Using a Sim Wheel Motor

Now your big-screen TV can rotate as easily as your smartphone — if you're willing to strap it to a racing wheel and a Raspberry Pi, anyway.

Inspired by Samsung's motorized Sero, pseudonymous maker "su77ungr" has built a TV which rotates from landscape to portrait — based purely on how you're holding your phone at any given moment.

In the early days of consumer television, TV sets were very nearly square. The growth of home video brought content designed for wide cinema screens into the home — and with it the choice of pan-and-scan, which would lose content at the sides but fill your TV, or letterbox, which would give you the full cinematic image but with black borders at the top and bottom.

Sick of pillarboxed vertical video? Why not strap your TV to a sim wheel for automatic rotation? (📹: su77ungr)

Today, TV sets are widescreen as standard — but an increasing number of people are consuming content originally designed for smartphones and tablets held in portrait mode, which ends up pillarboxed with huge black bars at the side when viewed on a widescreen TV. The solution? According to Samsung, it's adding a motor to a TV mount so it can rotate between landscape and portrait modes at the push of a button

If you don't have money for a brand-new Samsung Sero, though, you could do what su77ungr did instead: Add automatic rotation to an existing TV, by bolting it to a modified T150 racing simulator wheel and linking it to your smartphone via Wi-Fi.

"No sim wheels were harmed in this production. I removed all the packed electronics and connected only pins to the DC motor," su77ungr explains. "Did not even had to cut or drill out anything because I made a custom TV mount that fits as tight as the wheel did before. I tend to repair and reuse things, not destroy them."

Driven by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and the handy scrcpy software to mirror a smartphone's display, the system works entirely automatically: Rotate the phone in your hand and, after a short delay, the TV follows suit. Rotate it back again, and the TV copies. Whether it's vertical video or a classic vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up, the TV will be in your preferred orientation.

More details are available in the project's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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