Q. I read today that LG is putting out a rollable TV that slides down into a piece of furniture so you won’t see it in the living room when it’s not being used. My question is why would anyone want that? Particularly why would anyone pay top dollar for it? Do you know anything about this? — Teresa, Kansas City.
Teresa, at the opening of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LG yesterday introduced the world’s first rollable OLED TV. When turned off, the set’s 65-inch screen rolls down into a piece of furniture that basically looks like a credenza from a sci-fi movie set in a post-apocalypse.
The effect: The screen disappears from your living room when not in use, presumably to create a more stylish decor when you are entertaining guests (although that ice-cold, silver credenza thing is still there, which won’t exactly endear you to the Architectural Digest crowd. However, it might make your guests feel more at home — if they are undertakers!)
LG said the TV will launch this year, but it did not give pricing details. But you can bet it will require a trip to your loan officer. Afterall, a normal 65-inch OLED set can cost up to $3,000 so LG will likely expect premium dollars for one that goes all-David Copperfield for you in your living room.
But despite the likelihood that the set’s enormous price will scare off any consumer who has yet to be committed to a mental institution, most journalists at CES raved about it, suggesting it’s the future of TV. In fact, Reviewed.com actually tweeted that it is the future of TV, which was kind of them, considering that happens to be LG’s marketing slogan for OLED TVs. CNET said the roll-away set is “incredible.” And the Mirror in the United Kingdom said it will ‘transform’ the way we watch films.”
But despite the journalist’s tendency to gush over shiny new objects at CES, it says here that the rollable TV is years from becoming a living room staple. If then.
For starters, I’m not sure what the demand is here. Are we really clamoring for a TV that disappears in your living room (minus that stark credenza, of course)? Come on, for years we were told that the flat-screen TV will make our living rooms look more stylish, but now we are told that you don’t want the screen there at all?
I don’t see it (literally and figuratively).
The second problem is the price. Why would anyone spend thousands and thousands of dollars just so you can have a TV that disappears into a piece of furniture? Is the trick really that cool? And let’s be clear, it really is just a trick. And once you’ve seen it a few times, I’m think the ‘coolness’ factor will begin to disappear, too.
No, I suspect LG’s disappearing TV is just one more CES product that journalists love to gush over, but wind up being tossed on the scrap heap of electronics history.
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— Phillip Swann