Although CES 2021 will be completely virtual this year, that does not stop LG from being a little extra with its OLED demos. This year, the company did not establish one, not two, however three flashy demos 55-inch transparent OLED screen.
Of the three, the most current demo is an elaborate sushi bar setup. The screen also acts as a contactless, physical barrier between chef and guest, as well as a means to scroll through the menu or watch videos. At the same time, it does not obscure your view of the chef preparing your meal – which is the coolest thing about eating at a sushi bar. Appropriate, given the impact of the pandemic on indoor dining.
The company also plans to demonstrate how the screen can be useful in subway cars. More specifically, to replace train windows with a transparent display so that drivers can see information such as subway maps, weather and news while also taking in sights. It’s a cool concept, but probably better suited to areas that have beautiful scenery and not NYC’s crusty subway tunnels. LG demoed something similar in Beijing and Shenzhen earlier this year.
LG also makes a “smart bed” that has its transparent OLED built into a frame that can be placed at the foot of the bed. The idea is that you can press a button, and poof, the screen comes out of the frame to “display information or TV content in different screen conditions.” This does not pretty as much sense as the sushi bar or subway, but it is aimed at people who want to watch TV or a movie in bed while also watching the rest of the bedroom. Although the frame is technically portable, you can theoretically port it to other rooms where transparency may be more useful. (Still, as with Xiaomi’s Transparent TVs, it’s unclear who settles for transparent TVs at home.) LG is also incorporating something they call the Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO) into the frame itself to eliminate the need for external speakers.
LG is not shy about trotting out its groundbreaking display technology – and we have seen its transparent OLED before. It’s more like this time, LG is trying to argue for how transparent OLEDs can get into everyday life. The thing with transparent screens is that while you expect them to work as Minority report, things like ambient light can make pictures appear washed out. However, LG claims that the transparent OLED does not require backlighting and provides 40% transparency – a step up from 10% transparency which LG says is typical of current transparent LCD screens. It’s legitimately cool technology, though it is ridiculously expensive on $ 18,750 on LG’s website. In any case, the LG is at least not the $ 87,000 you need to pay for the rollable 65-inch OLED TV.
It’s a bummer that we do not get the chance to see these demos in person. LG’s CES monitors have historic been quite amazing. The good news is that everyone, including the general public, will be able to see the demonstrations almost from 11 January.