LG Will Finally Sell That Cool Rollable TV Concept

LG Will Finally Sell That Cool Rollable TV Concept

Two years ago LG Displays showed off a super cool OLED TV that rolled up into its base when not in use, essentially giving you the best of both the TV and projector worlds. Now LG is actually selling a TV based on the technology. The LG Signature OLED TV R will ship later this year.

And while it’s definitely a gimmick, the OLED TV R has all the features you’d expect from a wildly expensive 65-inch OLED TV. Like support for every major HDR format, wide colour gamut, 4K resolution, and a crisp and detailed image. LG claims that the actual OLED panel itself is the same one found in its current line of OLED TVs. The only difference being this one rolls up.

It’s also capable of being controlled by both Alexa, and in a TV first, Siri. The OLED TV R ties into Apple’s HomeKit which means you can turn it on using Siri on your iOS or macOS device, and it supports AirPlay 2 out of the box, no Apple TV required. So you can toss content, like movies and music, directly to the TV from your phone.

The TV rolls up and down out of a box that also has a speaker and all the ports inside (including HDMI 2.1), but because the TV isn’t always out—a big black rectangle messing up the aesthetics of your living room—it actually has three modes. Full View is the mode used for watching TV. The entire thing rolls out of the box and displays content after a brief loading screen.

It is very, very thin. (Photo: Mike Damanskis, Gizmodo)

When it’s rolled up, that’s called Zero View. The built-in speakers, a 4.2 setup with Dolby Atmos, still work in Zero View. So you can continue to use it to listen to music—though you’ll have to first start listening to that music while the display is in Full View.

At least the music sounds good. In our demo, Eric Clapton easily filled the room, and LG used it as an opportunity to show off its AI Sound feature, which brings virtual 5.1 surround sound to a TV set. The music didn’t really sound like 5.1, but AI Sound definitely seemed to create a realistic soundstage, as if you were in a room with the musicians.

A third mode, Line View, is a half step between the two. A portion of the display peeks out of the base letting you check the time and weather, or access the WebOS dashboard, or toss up some photos. It could be very cool, but it’s in the early stages of development, with LG saying the super simple user interface we saw wasn’t final.

Still, this is a pretty dang incredible piece of hardware, and LG expects to ship it by the end of the year. LG didn’t discuss price, but did tell me it would be a good bet that it will retail for more than the top-of-the-line 8K models announced today. With LG’s current top tier 65-inch OLED going for $9,499 you can expect a price over five figures in Australia.

That’s quite a bit of money, but this is quite a bit of TV! It’s blending two very distinctive styles of content viewing, taking some of the best features of TVs and projectors and packing it into one long box. But I will confess to my concern that the display isn’t going to be quite as pristine as LG promises. As I watched LG repeatedly raise and lower the display I had flashbacks to that time a friend kept fiddling with the window in my car until it collapsed straight into the door.

Stay tuned for when we hopefully get an opportunity to review the OLED R later this year and see just how durable that rolling mechanism is.