CES is a place to show off your wildest concepts, and this year’s conference has already kicked off with a trend that is jaw-droppingly impressive: transparent displays.
As their name implies, these are window-like screens that you can see through, but offering vibrant splashes of color, images, and video like a standard television. While the transparent displays have been around for years, they’ve largely been for businesses or some limited marketing display because they’re wildly expensive.
At CES 2024, Samsung and LG both showed off their take on the transparent display. At an early press event on Sunday, Samsung showed off a concept microLED transparent display boast vibrant colors. LG took it a step further, and on Monday introduced a transparent OLED television set. Being up close to these new versions in person is a sight to behold.
But these displays underscore a key theme that tends to pop up at CES: a wickedly cool and jaw-dropping thing that is wholly unpractical. While LG didn’t disclose the price of its television, you can bet it’ll be equally jaw-droppingly expensive. It harkens back to the years that LG trotted out its rollable television for several years, which did hit the market but never really made a dent.
Still, this is CES, so lets just marvel at the coolness of the set. LG’s OLED T’s screen slid up on the stage to applause from the audience, and we were quickly treated to a demo of its capabilities.
Frank Lee, director of marketing for LG, touted the OLED T’s “sense of openness” and how it could showcase digital art, visual aids, or serve as the room’s decor.
But at the astronomical price the OLED T will likely command, very few people are going to watch to use this as a glorified digital picture frame.
Lee also demonstrated the television’s ability to switch between transparent and opaque mode, allowing you watch the screen like a normal television.
One other feature that we hope will find itself in other televisions is its wireless aspect. The television comes with a “Wireless Zero Connect box,” allowing you to plug all of your streaming players, Blu-Ray players, and video game consoles, which is transmitted to the set without any cords.
“You can place it in locations unimaginable,” Lee said.
Samsung, meanwhile, showed off its MicroLED transparent display in a far less grand stage at its own press event ahead of Monday’s press conference. The demonstration was purely a concept, with the intent to show how much more vibrant and colorful its own MicroLED version is vs. OLED (which LG is touting).
You were able to get really close to the display, allowing you wave your behind the screen and see how the splashes of color look superimposed over it.
Again, it’s very cool. But even if I could find a use for one of these displays, there’s no way I would be able to afford one even if they were for sale.