The Future of Television Is Flexible, Bright, and Larger Than Life

Next wave of models offers roll-up screens and interactivity

6 March 2018

Consumers will soon have the option of exchanging their standard flat-screen television for a whole new experience.

LG, General Electric, Samsung, and other companies are competing to create the next best way to watch television. They debuted their latest models at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.


    LG’s 27-meter-wide open-frame organic light-emitting diode (OLED) Canyon [above] incorporates self-lighting pixels to control the image brightness and quality. The unit is only 7.2 millimeters thick because there is no backlight. Each pixel turns on and off independently to adjust image brightness and quality. The model uses Atmos, a surround-sound system developed by Dolby Laboratories.

    Another LG model on display was a 165-centimeter OLED television that rolls itself up when the viewer turns it off. The ultra-high-definition unit lowers itself into its stand, rolling up like a yoga mat, according to a CNN report. The features simplify transporting and storing the model—you can move it to another room or bring it on a trip.

    You can change the television’s aspect ratio, allowing you to view programming as if you were in a movie theater.

    The television can also double as an information display, showing weather, music playlists, and sports scores. LG plans to release larger-scale rollable OLEDs by 2020. Prices have not been released.


    General Electric’s Kitchen Hub is an 80-cm interactive flat-screen television that’s meant to be installed on a range hood. Not only does the unit function as a ventilation system, but it also can take pictures of food you’re preparing. As you’re cooking, the hub’s camera points down at the stovetop to photograph your culinary creation. It’s equipped with photographer’s lighting so you can get better images.

    The Kitchen Hub comes with a personal digital assistant, Geneva, which can communicate with the Amazon Echo and similar devices, according to the Digital Trends video. For example, you can ask Alexa to have Geneva preheat the oven to 190 °C.

    The Hub comes with preloaded recipes and uses Google Duo to make video calls. If, for example, you’re making your grandmother’s famous lasagna, you can video-call her to check if you’re following the recipe correctly.

    The Hub will be available this year and cost around US $600, according to the company.


    Samsung introduced the Wall, a hanging MicroLED television that measures 3 meters wide and 1.8 meters tall, according to a CNET article. The technology relies on gallium nitride LEDs, which eliminate the need for a color filter or backlight. GaN LEDs are about 30 times brighter than OLEDs.

    The display is equipped with micrometer-scale LEDs, similar to the technology used in scoreboards and arena jumbo screens. It produces so-called perfect black levels and achieves a 2,000-nit brightness, a unit of visible-light intensity that is considered high for indoor displays.

    The television is modular. Consumers can purchase additional modules to change the size or configuration without impacting performance, according to the article.

    The price of the Wall, due to ship by the end of the year, has not been announced.

This article is part of our March 2018 special issue on the future of television.

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