One of the big tech trends at CES 2021 could be transparent displays, and LG is leading the charge with a showcase of where its 55-inch transparent OLED technology could feature in our everyday lives.
Currently, LG is the only company manufacturering transparent OLED displays, but there are others making transparent LCD screens. LG claims that its OLED technology is superior, with its panels achieving 40% transparency, where as LCD only offers 10%.
During CES 2021, LG will show off its 55-inch transparent OLED in a number of ways, including seeing the panel being built into a frame that's designed to sit at the foot of your bed.
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The TV will be able to rise out of the frame (as we've seen with traditional TV-in-bed configurations), and display information at a variety of aspect ratios - meaning you won't need to necessarily fire up the entire screen every time you use it.
There are cinematic speakers built into the frame as well, removing the need for additional surround speakers (although we're unable to say whether these speakers are any good).
LG says the frame containing the display and speakers can be easily moved around the home - although we'll have to wait for more details before we can comment on whether that's really the case.
What's encouraging here, though, is LG is pushing a clear consumer concept for its transparent displays, which gives more hope to those looking to pick one up for their home in the future.
However, initially the transparent OLED TV displays will feature more heavily in commercial settings.
Transparent OLED outside the home
Two other scenarios LG will be showcasing at its virtual CES 2021 booth are both commercial settings. First up is the idea of having a transparent OLED display at a restaurant, where diners can view the menu and select their food via the screen, while still being able to see the restaurant behind.
The other example is the replacement of a traditional subway window with the 55-inch transparent OLED display, allowing commuters to view maps, and useful information on the screen while also being able to see through the display to the outside.
While all of this sounds great, it's worth approaching transparent OLED displays with caution. We've seen previous transparent screens plagued by poor contrast and black levels, and while LG claims its latest transparent OLED delivers "clear image quality", we'll have to wait to physically see it before passing judgement.
There's currently no word on when this technology will actually be available for consumers to buy - but we expect it will be exceedingly expensive when it does initially hit the market.
This isn't the first we've heard of LG's transparent OLEDs. Panasonic announced transparent TVs using LG's panels in November 2020 - although they're aimed at the commercial market, so you won't be able to buy one.
CES 2021 runs from January 11-14, and we'll be covering the virtual tech show live throughout the week to bringing you all the latest news and products - including any further details from LG on the availability, price and specs of its transparent OLED displays.