WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Flexible displays and screens have been a long time coming, but they are finally emerging …
Sci-fi films often have a bunch of fancy gadgets, and some of the more common tech gadgets include transparent smartphones and devices, like these transparent TV’s that were unveiled recently, or gadgets with flexible and rollable screens. And then, of course, there are holograms, like these real ones I showed off ages ago.
While devices like smartphones with flexible screens have been on the market for a while now TV’s and gadgets with rollable screens have largely been stuck in the labs with LG’s 65” rollable TV being an exception. Now though TV maker and electronics heavyweight TCL, who’ve been developing a number of rollable OLED display designs have just showed them off at their latest DTC 2020 conference.
See the new display for yourself
They showed off two prototypes of the technology, with one unfurling vertically, like the LG rollable OLED, and the other unfurling horizontally. You can check them both out in the video above.
The sideways rollable OLED is particularly interesting, given the only commercially available rollable OLED so far – the LG Signature Series OLED TV R – unfurls vertically. It seems, at least, that these flexible display technologies are improving in reliability, and more manufacturers are taking a chance on publicly showing rollable tech.
At the moment there’s no official naming or release confirmation, and you shouldn’t expect to see anything on the shelves near you anytime soon. LG unveiled its own rollable OLED at CES 2018 and it took until late 2020 for it to finally launch at an eye watering price, and so far it’s only available in South Korea.
And as for the argument for rollable TVs? OLED panels are far better at being twisted, folded, and bent than regular LCDs and their self-emissive pixels mean they can keep a slim form factor and not need a backlight behind them that would also need to be folded…
There’s also a big benefit in saving space with the TV’s being to be folded away when they’re not being used, so from that perspective at least it looks like they’ll have a bright future – as and when they’re finally commercialised and affordable which should happen within the next five years or so.