The LG Rollable OLED Display is True Innovation in TV Technology
While everyone’s over here talking about the forthcoming foldable smartphone craze, let’s turn our attention for just a brief moment to what LG is expected to do sometime within the next 12 months. According to a report this week from Bloomberg, the LG rollable display that was, um, displayed at CES 2018 this past January could see retail store shelves as soon as 2019. The publication, citing “a person familiar with the matter,” said the launch and product are considered to be the centerpiece of an effort by the Korean consumer technology manufacturer to revive what’s been an otherwise ailing business segment.
The product itself appears inspired by some odd combination of the projector screen market and controllable window shades. At CES 2018, LG had the rollable display on hand, showing a model that did exactly what its name suggested and rolled up automatically at the touch of a button, hiding itself inside of a rather petite white box, akin to storing a poster in a stronger container. LG had the TV there in a 65-inch model, though it’s not known if that will be a standard size or what other possible configurations the display may come in.
The concept itself is not new to the tech space. Any attendee of CEDIA Expo or even past CES events would have to try real hard to not find exhibitors showing off product that works to conceal the TV in some fashion. There are myriad examples of mounts that hide themselves in walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and more. And plenty of home theater room installations that we’ve come across in our coverage have employed displays that are retractable. But the concept that LG touted—and could soon be selling to consumers—really pushes the envelope for the TV market.
A big push by manufacturers has been made in the past few years to alter the footprint of TVs or find ways to blend them into the space they occupy, a la the Samsung The Frame TV. But giving consumers the option of removing the TV from the space at the push of a button is some next-level concealing action. It works wonders from a pure aesthetic perspective.
But then consider the logistics side of things. For the consumer, moving this kind of TV from room to room or even house to house becomes as simple as rolling your display up and going. And for retail, this is an insanely major improvement from a shipping to warehouse or even backroom storage perspective. The display rolled up might take up 80 percent less space than a traditional TV—and that might even be a bit of an overestimate. So, for every one un-rollable display you have on the show floor or in the stock room, you could, in theory, have have or six of these LG rollable displays. Think about that.
Bottom line, LG realizes it has to do something to get the OLED market moving, and it appears to be banking on the rollable display. According to data from Statista, cited by Bloomberg, OLED displays will account for just 1.1 percent of the actively installed TV market this year, while LCD should make up 98 percent. Shipments of OLED TVs are projected to reach 4 million next year, or 70 percent growth year-over-year—a strong growth rate, but that still represents just a fraction of the 223 million TVs that will be shipped this year.