LG Paper TV: an ultra-thin, detachable and bendable screen

Published on Dec 29, 2015 in App Development
lg paper tv

LG’s latest invention looks quite amazing: a flexible, paper-thin TV. Yes: what we thought to be the latest trend (curved televisions), is not enough. The South Korean company revealed its creation last May at a press show, but it’s only a prototype, although the company hopes this technology will become popular soon.

LG Paper TV (it doesn’t have an official name yet) is a 55-inch television with a flexible screen that sticks to your wall through magnets: you just have to press it! LG’s ultra-thin TV is less than 1mm thick (on the presentation video they compare it to a VISA) and weights just 1.9kg (4lbs).

Its mindboggling thinness is obtained thanks to OLED technology (Organic Light-Emitting Diode): with it, the display produces its own light, so no backlight is required to bulk up the design.

oled tv lg

How it works

Thanks to a magnetic mat that sits behind it on the wall, the TV can be stuck to a wall. To remove it, you just have to peel the screen off the mat. LG Display used high molecular substance-based polyimide film as the backplane of the flexible panel instead of conventional plastic to achieve the maximum curvature radius. The polyimide film also reduces the thickness of the display to significantly improve its flexibility.

As for the transparent OLED panel, it boasts 30 percent transmittance, which was achieved by adopting the company’s transparent pixel design technology.

About OLED

The OLED technology provides screens with pure blacks, bright colours, high contrasts, a wide-viewing angle and allows for ultra-slim designs. OLED panels are made from organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied to them, eliminating the need for a backlight, which lets them be thinner than any LCD screen. This organic compound layer also allows for those displays to be curved. Because of all this, right now OLED is the most desired choice not only for televisions, but also for a wide range of wearables and other mobile products.

In addition, an OLED screen offers a brighter, clearer picture than current LCD screens, with a high-definition resolution of 1,200 x 810. LG’s new transparent OLED panel is said to have a 30 percent transmittance (or clarity), which is far more than the usual 10 percent transmittance of existing transparent LCD panels.

OLED tech

The new OLED displays are not only highly flexible, but also impossible to break. As they are light and slim, you just need to attach a thin, magnetic base to your wall, and place or peel off the “wallpaper” as you please.

LG has released its 55-inch, 66-inch and 77-inch OLED models earlier this year. They are convinced OLED is the future and they want to include this technology on all their displays from now on. LG will keep its focus on large screens, and they plan to introduce a 99-inches OLED panel within this year. While companies like LG, Samsung and Sony are already using OLED screens, the costs are still quite high to produce the displays.

But LG’s plans don’t stop here: the South Korean brand wants to develop an Ultra HD flexible and transparent OLED panel of more than 60 inches by 2017, with a transmittance of more than 40 percent and a curvature radius of 100R. LG Paper TV pricing and availability

For now, LG Paper TV is just a project: it could take another 5 to 10 years before these wallpaper displays are available for the mass market. In fact, LG still hasn’t found the way to manufacture them properly: the company declared that 20 percent of televisions don't work. About the possible price, we can only say that the current LG's 65-inch, 4k OLED TV already costs around $9,000. But it’s evidently too early to figure out how much this paper-thin display could cost in, let’s say, 10 years. An industry analyst estimated a 55-inch quantum dot TV could be priced 30 to 35% more than a current LCD TV, while an OLED TV could be 5 times more expensive.

Actually, the aim of May’s press conference and the introduction of the paper-thin TV were to announce LG's plans to focus on making OLED screens in the future. Both LG and Samsung have been pioneering flexible display technologies over the past years; Samsung could also create a bendable screen, and it’s expected that they develop a fully flexible phone by 2016. Bendable and curved devices are definitely the new fashion, but there’s still a lot of work to do. And in fact, the first question is to find out if these kinds of devices will be useful.

lg oled phone

Some people see the utility of a bendable smartphone: this way, you can roll it up, put it into your pocket and sit on it without any fear to break the screen. As for curved and flexible TV’s, can they really have a useful application? Are we ever going to detach our 55-inch displays from the wall, roll them up and go? The truth is it doesn’t look very practical.

What is interesting here is the OLED technology itself, which can offer high resolution, brilliant blacks and clear colours. And yes, it will also allow manufacturers to develop thinner-than-ever screens, so slim that you can roll them up. But that’s not the point, that’s not really the aim because it lacks of practicality, at least for big displays. However, like those rolled-up mattresses, this capability can be very interesting to ship the televisions, both to reduce costs and to avoid breakings.

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