There are a number of exciting technologies on the home theater horizon, but few feel as futuristic (or as cool) as rollable OLED TVs. LG has been teasing this tech since 2018, and its OLED R (aka ROLED) TV turned sci-fi dreams into reality when in hit the market late last year (at least, for those who had the $87,000 to spare). With LG’s much-publicized investment in OLED, and with flexibility being one of the biggest differentiators between OLED and other TV technologies, the company continues to work feverishly to get the most out of the tech. So we weren’t surprised earlier this month when we heard that the South Korean manufacturer received a patent from the World Intellectual Property Organization for a different sort of rollable OLED, one that unfurls horizontally instead of vertically (like the ROLED).
The patent document, spotted first by LetsGoDigital.org, shows that when rolled up, this model will resemble a stand-up speaker, with the screen wrapped around a pair of vertical columns that extend outward from the base. The idea is to create an even lower profile for the TV when it’s not in use. Since this is a concept and not a working model, however, we don’t yet know what size display this tech can support, or even if LG will manufacture a TV using this idea any time soon. For what it’s worth, the ROLED checks in at 65 inches, and there’s no reason to think that this concept couldn’t support a screen of similar dimensions.
Razer, TCL, and a number of other manufacturers are also racing to take advantage of rollable OLED tech, but LG seems to have a leg up on its competitors for the time being. We reported on its “smart bed” semi-transparent TV concept in January and, all in all, the company just seems more committed to this space than everyone else right now. If this is the future of the TV market — and LG is banking on it being just that — it will be well-positioned as it vies for space in your living room.
For the time being, the price point is the main hurdle for the company to clear; there simply aren’t enough consumers who are willing and able to fork over close to $100,000 for a TV. If these sorts of displays do become more affordable, however, we’re betting that they’ll be here to stay. Besides being objectively cool, collapsible screens are actually pretty practical, if only because they take up less space and are easier to move.
We’ll keep you updated if LG ever puts its patent into practice, but if you want to see what the market for ultrathin displays looks like today, check out our list of the world’s thinnest televisions.
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