Barely there televisions: five smart TVs for your home
The TV of the future is designed to blend seamlessly into your interior – or dwarf it entirely
LG Signature OLED TV R
Taking the lead in the inconspicuous TV stakes, LG Electronics unveiled the world’s first rollable television earlier this year. As LG points out, television sizes have steadily increased as consumers have sought more immersive viewing experiences.
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But the tradeoff has been a large unseemly black rectangle that now dominates living rooms the world over. While projection TVs are less noticeable, they are unable to deliver the deep blacks that an increasingly tech-savvy audience demands. Brands have worked tirelessly to make screens increasingly slim, and thus less visually obstructive, but the race is on to take things a few steps further.
With its latest offering, dubbed “the wallpaper TV”, Samsung uses flexible screen technology that allows the display to be rolled away and then rolled back out at the touch of a button. The LG Signature OLED TV R promises “picture and sound quality that is second to none”, in a TV that can be freed entirely from the wall.
There are three viewing options: Full View, which consists of the whole screen; Line View, which allows the TV to be partially unrolled, allowing access to elements that do not require the entire screen, such as clock mode (to check the time and weather), frame mode (to view photos shared from a smartphone), as well as music and home dashboards. In Zero View, all 65 inches of the television are hidden entirely from view, tucked away in its base. A release date and price have yet to be announced.
Samsung Ambient Mode
If you consider your television to be a necessary eyesore, Samsung has an aesthetically pleasing answer. Working on the premise that “you decorate your home to match your lifestyle, and a TV should fit right in, whether it’s switched on or on standby”, Samsung has incorporated Ambient Mode into its 2019 line-up of QLED TVs. Even when switched off, the screens will display content such as works of art, photos, news headlines and weather updates.
If you’re really committed to making your TV invisible, you can take a picture of your wall and upload it – so the image on your screen will blend seamlessly into its backdrop. Samsung has also announced plans to partner with young, upcoming artists in coming years, to bring new and fresh scenes to its screens. Ambient Mode already showcases the abstract oil paintings of model and artist Tali Lennox; as well as the works of Dutch duo Scholten & Baijings.
Panasonic transparent concept screen
In keeping with the invisible theme, Panasonic displayed a transparent OLED concept screen at the 2019 Milan Furniture Fair in April. What at first appears to be a cabinet – a wooden frame holding a pane of glass in place – transforms into a vivid display once it is switched on. The display was the result of a conceptual research project by Panasonic and furniture company Vitra.
The two brands have been collaborating to develop ideas about how new audiovisual technologies can be integrated into our living environments. The transparent OLED display was the first of these ideas to be brought to fruition. While it is still a prototype, Panasonic has said it is actively evaluating feedback about the device and looking into market demand, so expect transparency in a screen near you soon.
Committed to transforming the TV into a design statement, Bang & Olufsen last month unveiled its Beovision Harmony. When the TV is turned off, or being used to play only music, its thin screen retracts downwards towards the floor, where it is partially covered by two oak and aluminium fronts (which also house the TV’s sound centre). When the Beovision Harmony is turned on, the fronts fan out – “like a butterfly opening its wings,” according to the brand – and the screen rises to viewing height. The wings have an graded pattern that is designed to maximise acoustic performance, and are paired with a 77-inch OLED LG screen. The design is inspired by some of Bang & Olufsen’s most popular products, including the 1959 Capri series, the first example of the brand designing products that perfectly blend into living spaces. The Beovision Harmony will be available from October and is priced at €18,500 (Dh76,176).
Sony Z9G Master Series LCD
How big is too big? When it comes to televisions, some might say there’s no such thing. Sony would agree. While everyone else is scrambling to create TVs that are more conspicuous, Sony has unveiled its Z9G Master Series LCD, which comes in just two sizes – 85 inches and 98 inches, making it one of the largest 8K TVs on the market. The latest TV catchphrase, “8K” offers 16 times as many pixels as HD and four times as many as its predecessor, the 4K, and is all set to become the next big thing. If you’re proud of the importance your TV plays in your home, and are quite happy for it to shout loud from your living room wall, Sony’s your best bet.
Updated: May 14, 2019 04:12 PM