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Roll your own: LG’s flexible OLED panels pave the way for TV from a tube [Update: new video]

LG rollable OLED display
Before the advent of the flat-screen television, one of the most difficult parts of moving to a new house or apartment was confronting the television. The CRT tube and DLP projection televisions of yesteryear were big, unwieldy, somewhat fragile, and often painful to handle. Getting help moving one usually required at least a case of beer and definitely several pizzas. Thankfully, technology gave us 46-inch TVs you can pick up and move all by yourself. But in the future, you may be able to roll your TV up, throw it in a cardboard tube and take it anywhere you please, because LG just announced it has developed an incredibly flexible 18-inch OLED display that can do just that.

Updated 7/22/2014 by Ryan Waniata: If you thought LG’s crazy new flex screen looked cool in picture form, check out this newly released video of the screen bending your mind and your eyes in all its tubular, luminous glory. Discovered by OLED Info, this short example shows the fantastical future of displays in the flesh.

If 18 inches sounds a little small for your next TV, don’t worry. LG says it’s gunning to have 60-inch rollable OLED displays in the market by 2017. Want to watch the big game outside? Just haul your 60-incher to the back yard and throw it up on an exterior wall. Headed to a beach party? We’re pretty sure you’ll be able to drape your TV off your truck’s tailgate.

LG said in a statement that the new flexible OLED panel has HD-class resolution of 1,200 x 810 and packs almost 1 million pixels. The company claims the  panel can be rolled up to a radius of just 3cm without doing any damage, and that this serves as proof that the company can make rollable TVs at 50 inches and larger.

Of course, given that OLED technology has been difficult to produce in general, and even more difficult to produce in large quantities, it is likely the first rollable OLED TVs will cost a fortune. Still, it’s fun to think about being able to take the incredible picture quality of OLED on the go.

In addition to the rollable OLED panel, LG announced it has developed a transparent OLED display that far outperforms transparent LCD displays. While this sort of display may seem an unlikely candidate for your next TV or computer monitor, they will likely be deployed as retail displays, or possibly used in refrigerators, microwaves and other home appliances. Transparent displays will also be useful in future augmented-reality technologies.

It is highly likely LG will bring these prototypes to Berlin, Germany this September in order to show them off at the annual IFA electronics show. Digital Trends will be there, and we’ll be sure to bring you an up-close look at these new display technologies if they do make an appearance.

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