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World’s Thinnest Televisions

If you’re interested in thins HDTVs take a look at our best TVs list as picked using our reviews and ratings.

Though we’ve poked fun at thin televisions in the past, we do have to profess finding a certain appeal to paper-thin screens (as long as we’re not the ones paying for them). There’s something about a TV that seems to disappear when you walk by it that really grabs attention – especially with people who are used to owning 300-pound CRTs. The trophy for “World’s Thinnest” seems to trade hands every other month, but we’ve rounded up a few of the most notable models, from the ones that got things kicking to the ones that took it to the razor’s edge.

Sony XEL-1 OLED TV – 3mm

If you’re looking for an ultra-slim TV you can actually go out and buy, this is as thin as they come. The world’s first (and currently only) commercially available OLED television measures an almost-unconceivable 3mm thick. Don’t even try hiding a pencil behind this thing from the side view. Of course, it’s also the smallest television in our line-up, at only 11 inches across, which may limit the jaw-dropping effect a bit.

Sony XEL-1 OLED TV

Sony XEL-1 OLED TV


Hitachi Ultra Thin Series LCD – 38.1mm

While other companies were busy showing off prototypes and models at CES 2008, Hitachi was there to demo these ready-for-production models in three different sizes up to 42 inches, and measuring only 1.5 inches thick. Though not as eye-catching or dangerously thin as the roped-off concepts, the Ultra Thin sets were available almost immediately afterward, for a reasonable price, and as we noted when we got our hands on one, the picture wasn’t bad either. Hitachi accomplished the thin-factor by putting the guts of the TV in a separate box, meaning the piece on the wall is really only a display – and therefore extra thin.

Hitachi Ultra Thin Series LCD

Hitachi Ultra Thin Series LCD


Pioneer Kuro Concept Plasma – 9mm

As we mourn the upcoming loss of Pioneer’s reference-standard plasma line, we have to give the company accolades for its past achievements, including this little marvel. Unveiled at CES 2008, the pedestal-mounted 50-inch display had journalists and other attendees flocking around not the awe-inspiring front display, but the sides, to see just how unbelievably thin it was. But thin wasn’t the only news: Pioneer’s ultimate goal was to combine this technology with its “infinite contrast ratio” tech that debuted at the same show, and create a TV that was both impossibly slender and black. Now that all its plasmas are slated to end production in 2010, it looks like that idea will never see the light of day, but it was a beautiful thought while it lasted.

Panasonic Viera Z1 Plasma

Pioneer Kuro Concept Plasma – 9mm


Panasonic Viera Z1 Plasma – 25.4mm

We have to wonder if this 54-inch plasma, which debuted a year after Pioneer’s and looked suspiciously similar, didn’t somehow benefit from the cooperative agreement the two companies entered in the months between. Even if the innovation wasn’t in all in-house, you have to give Panasonic credit for producing a version that’s actually destined for the streets. Besides its incredibly svelte profile, the Z1 has some other features going for it, too. It uses Panasonic’s Neo PDP technology, which reduces power consumption by one third, and is uses WirelessHD transmission, so all the inputs go into a separate box that can be located somewhere else.

Panasonic Viera Z1 Plasma

Panasonic Viera Z1 Plasma


Sharp Aquos X Series LCD – 34.4mm

Much likes Hitachi’s Ultravision, the Aquos X sets few technical firsts, but it was destined for store shelves, not record books. Sharp actually debuted it only weeks after CES 2008 in a Japan-only launch of its 37-, 42- and 46-inch models. Besides the super-thin profiles, which the company accomplished the same way Hitachi did (gutting the panel and putting the circuits in a different box,) the Aquos X series offered a 5,000:1 dynamic contrast, 450 cd/m2 brightness, and eight tiny speakers. Unfortunately, Sharp never launched the series outside Japan, so North Americans will still have to drool from afar.

Sharp Aquos X Series LCD

Sharp Aquos X Series LCD


Sony ZX1 LCD – 9.9mm

If you ignore the XEL-1, you might say that Sony came rather late to the super-thin scene. But when it finally trotted its entry out at IFA 2008, it arrived in grand style. The 40-inch ZX1 uses LED backlights in the corners of the screen (rather than behind it) to maintain its figure, which is an amazingly thin 9.9mm. Sony also claimed, at the time, that is was the world’s lightest TV at only 27 pounds. You can even buy one for a paltry $4,500.

Sony ZX1 LCD

Sony ZX1 LCD


Philips Concept LCD – 8mm

Given the timing of Philips’ unveiling (at IFA 2008), many saw Philips’ ultra-thin TV as the answer to Sony’s ZX1. The company managed to one-up its larger Japanese competitor with both an ever-so-thinner profile and ambient edge lighting, but unlike the Sony, it spans only 32 inches and remains strictly a prototype.

Philips Concept LCD

Philips Concept LCD


Samsung CES 2009 Prototype LCD – 6.5mm

With Philips hanging onto the “thinnest LCD TV” title by a hair after IFA, Samsung decided to shave yet another miniscule increment off the record at CES 2009 for the record with this stunning prototype, which seemed as if you could bend it in half with one hand. Even company reps had to acknowledge that a TV this thin would probably be too impractical for real homes, due to how fragile it would be. Even so, the same show brought out the new Luxia LED-lit line from Samsung, which slides in just under an inch thick.

Samsung CES 2009 Prototype LCD

Samsung CES 2009 Prototype LCD


JVC Concept CES 2009 Prototype LCD – 7mm

Not normally a company known for breaking records, JVC actually staked its claim with this set as the world’s lightest 32-inch set, not the world’s thinnest. That’s just 11 pounds standing on that spindly mount. Rather impressively, it also measures just 7mm thick, which almost manages to challenge Samsung’s offering from the same show.

JVC Concept CES 2009 Prototype LCD

JVC Concept CES 2009 Prototype LCD


LG LH95 LCD – 24.8mm

Rather than making a prototype record attempt for 2009, LG focused its efforts on preparing a commercially viable set with the LH95. Dubbed by its makers the “world’s thinnest LED TV,” the LH95 measured just under an inch thick, but brought with it the same type of features and quality that buyers might expect from a full-depth TV. That includes a size of 55 inches, 240Hz refresh rate, and a 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio achieved by arranging the LED backlights into a grid behind the TV and turning them down in dark scenes for blacker blacks.

LG LH95 LCD

LG LH95 LCD