CES 2021: LG shows off transparent, flexible displays of the future

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LG showed off two prototype displays from the future at CES 2021.
Image: LG Display

TVs and gaming monitors are annual staples at CES. Although this year’s event was virtual, that trend remained unaffected. LG showed off several new display concepts and products that are heading to market. They give consumers an idea of what the future of screens will be like.

If LG has any say, things will look a lot more transparent and flexible. Two of the company’s prototype displays stood out in particular, including a transparent TV built into a bed frame and a flexible, 48-inch OLED monitor for gamers.

Bedtime TV Watching

LG’s Display unit has been making waves at CES for many years. The company likes to use the technology conference as an opportunity to show off its futuristic prototypes alongside the models it is preparing to roll out to consumers.

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Its new transparent TV measures in at 55 inches. Although that’s a little on the small side by today’s metrics, it is large enough for the way that LG intends it to be used. During its presentation, the company showed the TV sitting inside the foot of a bed. It then rises up when you want to watch something and retracts into the frame when not in use.

Although this certainly isn’t the world’s first transparent display, LG notes that it does have several advantages over those from competitors like Samsung. For one, the screen achieves 40 percent transparency. Other models have only been able to achieve 10 percent transparency. That means you can see through LG’s display even while it is showing an image.

Sadly, LG hasn’t given any indication of when (or if) its transparent TV will be heading to consumers. The company has a history of turning its futuristic prototypes into retail products. However, there is no guarantee that this TV will be one of them.

Even so, there are numerous uses for transparent displays. As Jong-sun Park, LG Display’s senior vice president and head of commercial business notes, “Transparent OLED is a technology that maximizes the advantages of OLED and can be used in various places in our daily lives, from stores, shopping malls, and architectural interiors to autonomous vehicles, subway trains, and aircraft.”

He adds, “It will grow into a next-generation display that can change the existing display paradigm.”

Flexible Gaming

Gamers often prefer to play on a monitor rather than a TV so they can stay up close to the action. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t want a large, high-tech monitor.

Along with its transparent display, LG also showed off an OLED gaming monitor that can bend from a flat to curved configuration on demand. It’s impressive and mesmerizing to watch a display change its shape before your eyes.

For gamers, curved displays make the action much more immersive. However, they can detract from your viewing experience while watching TV or a movie. The prototype display offers the best of both worlds by transforming into the ideal shape for the activity at hand.

It’s also worth noting that the monitor is equipped with LG Display’s Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO) technology. This means that it vibrates the screen to produce sounds rather than using speakers. As The Verge notes, the digital nature of CES this year makes it impossible to determine how well the feature works in the display. It will be an interesting thing to see once in-person events are allowed to resume.

Sadly for gamers, this display is also a prototype that may or may not make it to the consumer market. If so, there will likely be an audience for it. However, LG may choose to stop pursuing the flexible display tech before that happens.

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