The CES showfloor is never short of real-world products that will come to people’s homes later that year… nor is it deprived of ambitious concepts that won’t properly materialise for years, if ever. Falling into that latter bracket for a few years now has been the transparent TV.
LG has been showing off a transparent OLED display at trade shows for a while now, though this week at CES 2024 it is proudly flaunting its most sophisticated and realised version yet, the Signature OLED T. In short (more details are here), LG’s latest see-through spectacle will be an actual, available TV this year and essentially consists of a transparent OLED panel, behind which a rollable opaque film can rise up to provide a more traditional TV experience if the lucky owner so wishes.
It was arguably only a matter of time before other significant TV brands and competing panel technologies showed interest in the transparent design, and alas, here we have our first sniff of a transparent Micro LED, courtesy of Samsung – which you can see in action just below.
Truth be told, it is more of a sniff than a true ‘hold my beer’ rival, as the Samsung Micro LED display being shown off at CES this week is far from a consumer-ready product – unlike the vast range of 8K Neo QLED and OLED TVs it has also unveiled, and indeed LG's OLED T.
Stating that it is a result of “six years of tireless research and development”, Samsung has initially offered business-orientated use cases for the see-through screens, such as for shop windows so that people could see adverts for what's in there and still see in the shop, or windows of stadium hospitality boxes for overlaying statistics on the match as people look out and watch.
A domestic application is likely as close to fruition as a flying car, and an affordable one as near as a living robot colony, but the fact that the road is being travelled down is still exciting. After all, Micro LED is expected to be ‘the next big thing’ in TV technology – the heir apparent to OLED (and QD-OLED) with proper next-level colour and contrast control – when companies can find a way to bring the cost down so that they don’t cost the same as a house.
Samsung says the next-gen panel technology is perfect for transparent designs due to its wider pixel structure and consequently increased light transmission compared to transparent OLEDs (which amusingly it labelled as a ‘conventional transparent display’), which means you can see through the display better.
Fingers crossed Samsung (or someone else) makes headway with this transparent concept by CES 2025, then, but for now we'll focus our anticipation on the unannounced cost and launch date of that LG Signature OLED T.
See all the CES 2024 news and highlights so far – LG and Samsung's groundbreaking TVs, and more