You had to wonder if maybe LG wasn’t setting us up for something at CES 2024. On one hand, the company has long loved to preannounce its major announcements ahead of an event. And it did so in the weeks leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There are new televisions, of course, both on the QLED front, as well as new OLED sets. There are new soundbars to wirelessly give even greater life to the audio, should you decide you want something more than what the TVs can offer on their own. And there’s the new CineBeam Qube projector, which doubles as an art piece. All of that is pretty cool.
But none of it compared to the bombshell LG dropped ahead of its CES press conference, which itself is a day before the show officially opens. It’s another OLED. But the LG Signature OLED T brings transparent OLED technology to something that’s not just theoretical. It’s not just showing off the tech for the sake of showing off the tech, which is something we’ve seen with transparent screens for years. This is something LG intends to be on sale in the second half of the year (maybe — it wouldn’t get anywhere close to actually pinning down a date), and it’s something it intends on actually getting into homes.
Let’s just be upfront, however — there’s almost a 100% chance that if you have to ask how much the LG Signature OLED T costs, it’s probably not in your price range.
Be that as it may, we’ve seen the Signature OLED T in action, and it’s stunning. To oversimplify things, what you have is a transparent OLED panel in the front, with an opaque film (LG calls it a contrast screen) that can unfurl itself behind the image, giving you a traditional sort of TV picture. But retract the contrast screen, and you now have a transparent OLED television.
And that means you can have some serious fun with what’s on the display. It can do artwork and video, of course. And, yes, you can turn it into a sort of virtual aquarium (which inevitably is the sort of demo you see with this sort of transparent tech).
LG’s gone further than that, though, with something it calls the T-Bar. Think along the lines of a news and information ticker that lives in the bottom six inches or so of the Signature OLED T, backed by the base in which the contrast screen and electronics live. So you can have all kinds of info there while the rest of the screen is transparent, avoiding the annoyance of a big, black screen staring blankly at you all day when not otherwise in use.
“An incredible feat of consumer-driven innovation, LG Signature OLED T offers brand-new screen experiences, plus the picture quality and performance of our award-winning OLED technology,” Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, said in a press release officially announcing the Signature OLED T. “LG’s transparent OLED gives customers greater freedom to curate their living spaces, completely redefining what’s possible and pointing the way to an exciting future for the television industry.”
Indeed, it’s pretty spectacular to see in person, and not just for the novelty of the transparent screen. And to be clear, that’s not inherently new tech. What’s really cool here is how LG has combined the transparent OLED display with its existing Zero Connect Box (borrowed from the M4 OLED lineup) and put a new user interface atop it — there’s no way it could use the same old (but still excellent) webOS, right? — for something that no other manufacturer has done.
And there will be other concerns, too. Price will be chief among them. And while you’re able to wall-mount the Signature OLED T, you’ll need to keep in mind what’s behind the whole getup, lest you sully the experience with basic builder’s special drywall. That’s something that stood out, too, in LG’s demo — it made sure to showcase the Signature OLED T with a proper wood-panel background and floating shelves below and on the side. (That’s something LG says will be an official option, so you’ll not be left to your own devices for figuring out how to make this TV look good in your home.)
Another cool feature: Content can be tailored to take advantage of the transparent nature of the LG Signature OLED T. In one demonstration, the contrast screen was triggered by what was on the display at a specific time, and LG says it’s working with content partners to expand on that idea.
So, it’s early days yet for the LG OLED Signature T. We’ll have more questions and get more answers as the year progresses. But in the meantime? This is something you absolutely must see.
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