LG debuts insane disappearing TV
LG has unveiled a world first TV innovation: a rollable OLED screen that disappears on command.
The company revealed the unique 65-inch flagship device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this morning, ushering in a new flexibility when it comes to premium TV design.
At the base of the TV is a 100 watt front-firing Dolby Atmos sound bar which also serves as a housing unit for the TV when you're not watching it.
At the click of a button, the screen slides down behind the speaker and rolls up like a garage door to disappear from sight.
LG calls this mode "zero view" but there is also the option to hit "line view" which leaves the top of the TV poking out so you can access a narrow horizontal menu to do things like play music, look at photos or select an ambient display such as a fireplace.
The company had an early prototype of its rollable OLED display behind the scenes of last year's event but says it will become a commercial reality later this year.
As TVs get bigger in size, manufacturers have simultaneously been trying to make them less conspicuous in our living room. Last year, LG released the amazingly thin Wallpaper TV and now engineers have managed to make it bendable enough to neatly fold away.
This is television for people who hate having a large black box hogging up the living room. This TV "reimagines space" and "addresses the human need for an aesthetically pleasing environment," LG's US senior director of product marketing Tim Alessi told the audience this morning.
LG expects the rollable model 65R9 to hit stores some time in the second half of 2019, but it certainly won't come cheap. Any details around pricing haven't been released yet but the unique model will set you back well north of five figures and will cost about the same as a small car.
8K HAS ARRIVED
LG also unveiled the rest of its 2019 TV line-up, including two high-end TVs that boast the insanely sharp 8K picture quality.
At the top end is the huge 88-inch Z9 TV, which is the company's crown jewel in the emerging 8K battle set to play out between major TV manufacturers in the coming years. Other companies including Samsung, Sony, Hisense and TCL are also set to debut 8K TVs this year.
The forthcoming 8K resolution packs four times as many pixels into a display than the already super high definition 4K. At the moment, there is basically zero content that is made or delivered in 8K, so TV manufacturers are very much putting the cart before the horse here.
Nonetheless, up close the picture quality of the LG model is spectacular. Select media were given a glimpse of the new TV prior to the press conference to see the display in action - and on such a large screen, the image quality and level of detail was phenomenal.
The industry expects 8K to push consumers towards larger screens because the difference between 8K (7680×4320 pixels) and 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) will effectively be indistinguishable to the human eye on smaller TVs.
"8k better suited for larger screen sizes," an LG exec said, hence the 88 inch model.
The other flagship from LG is the 8K 75-inch SM99 LCD TV which will bring 8K viewing to customers on a backlit screen rather than an OLED screen where each individual pixel generates its own light. LCD screens don't produce the "perfect black" or the same level of contrast as OLED screens but the SM99 will provide users with an 8K experience at a cheaper price point.
AI RESPONDS TO LIVING ROOM CONDITIONS
In order to handle the 8K content, LG's new TVs are powered by its second generation Alpha 9 intelligent processor and deep learning algorithm.
This infusion of artificial intelligence works in the background to optimise the picture and sound experience by analysing source content as well as recognising and adjusting the picture based on the conditions of your living room.
That means subtlety doing things like setting the brightness and contrast to a particular configuration, and taking into account the ambient lighting conditions of its environment to adjust the picture.
Journalists were given a demonstration of this in action and it was quite impressive stuff. For instance, when you hold up an iPhone torch up to the screen, the TVs sensors recognise the extra light and noticeably change the saturation and colour tone curve of the picture.
The shadows in the movie became more illuminated to reveal detail that otherwise would've been hard to see, all without blowing out the picture.
ALEXA JOINS GOOGLE ASSISTANT, PLUS APPLE AIRPLAY
LG is keen to make the TV the centrepiece of a connected living room and is leading the charge when it comes to imbuing its TVs with third party smart assistants.
In September, it rolled out software updates to all its 2018 model TVs making them compatible with Google Assistant.
By holding the microphone button and speaking into the remote, you can ask the TV all sorts of questions such as traffic updates, news headlines, weather forecasts and restaurant suggestions. You can also get your TV to control smart connected devices.
LG's 2019 TVs include the same built-in support for Amazon's Alexa smart assistant.
The company newest TVs will also have support for Apple's AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit meaning users can Mirror their TV with their Apple devices such as their iPhone, iPad or MacBook.
With Apple HomeKit support, customers will also be able to control their LG TV using the Home app or by asking Siri.
Samsung has also announced it will support AirPlay 2, as well as having its own native iTunes app on its 2019 and 2018 TV models.
LG's 2019 OLED and top range LCD TVs will include full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports.
The common HDMI 2.0 audio video connection ubiquitous on all TVs can handle pretty much every video format available today, and the near future. But having HDMI 2.1 ports - which can carry up to 48 Gbps per second, roughly two and a half times more than HDMI 2.0. and support 120 frames per second - certainly future proofs the TV and is great for gamers. Although the internet connection in most Aussie households would struggle to get the best out of this.
The author travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of LG