In Depth

CES 2016: The LG TV that can be rolled up like a newspaper

Media reveals their hands-on experiences as prototype flexible display is unveiled behind closed doors

South Korean electronics company LG has revealed a television screen that can roll up like a piece of paper at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas.

The company has been working on the technology for some time now, but it was at this year's show that journalists were first invited for a hands-on demonstration of the flexible screen.

The display uses organic light-emitting diodes (Oled), which do not need panels behind them to supply light so the screen can be scrunched and rolled.

"If you're in the business of making TV cabinets - look away now," says Dave Lee of the BBC.

The full HD display at the show is only 18ins, but LG told the broadcaster they are eventually aiming for 55ins displays with 4K resolution.

They also revealed their inspirations for the rolling screen, saying it's an ideal technology for those who do not wish to sacrifice space in favour of a television set as it can be rolled up and stored in a cupboard.

While the bending nature of the display will be a crowd-puller, it is still in prototype stages. In their hands-on, the BBC noted that so-called "dead pixels" began to emerge on the screen after some toying around. It can only be rolled one way, too, and cannot be folded.

Most reviewers were taken aback by the strange properties of the screen, though.

In their hands-on demo, CNET found the 0.18mm thick display felt like a "piece of plastic poster" which easily bent, warped and rolled. However, they did point out that it's still a few years until the arrival of the technology for these screens to become wireless and that for now, cables can still hamper full control of the flexible properties.                                                      

They echoed the BBC's comments about how such an item will become a handy space-saver, though, talking about rolling the TV up and putting it in a bag to take anywhere.

The Verge highlights how other companies, such as Sony, Samsung and Sharp, have also revealed bending Oled screen technologies in the past, but it is LG's emphasis on these screens rolling up and fitting into pockets, bags and cubbyholes which differentiates their approach.

"This thing was hidden away like Area 51," says PC Mag. The screen was not on display on LG's main stand at CES, but behind closed doors and only available to see on request. Nonetheless, It's "one of the coolest things I've seen in the three years I've covered CES", writes Angela Moscaritolo.

As cool as it may be, the technology is still very much mired in prototype testing and it will be some time before screens will be available commercially.

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