Itâs been a year since we saw LG Displayâs 65-inch rollable TV prototype at Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and now LG Electronics is bringing it to market as the companyâs flagship 4K OLED TV for 2019. The finished Signature OLED TV R that consumers will be able to buy sometime this spring â for an astronomical, premium price â is quite similar to that prototype, but LG has refined the base station and added a 100-watt Dolby Atmos speaker for powerful built-in audio.
LG is going several steps further by making the TV go away completely whenever youâre not watching. It drops slowly and very steadily into the base and, with the push of a button, will rise back up in 10 seconds or so. It all happens rather quietly, too. You canât see the actual ârollâ when the TV is closed in, sadly; a transparent base wouldâve been great for us nerds to see what’s happening inside the base as the TV comes in or unfurls, but the white is certainly a little more stylish. Functionally, LG tells me it hasnât made many changes to the way the LG Display prototype worked aside from enhancing the base. I didnât get to ask about durability testing â how many times the OLED TV R has been tested to go up and down, for example â but thatâs something Iâm hoping to get an answer to.
Thereâs also a mode â LG calls it âLine Modeâ â where the display will drop down so that only about one-fourth of the panel is showing. Youâll still have on-screen music controls and the option to control your smart home gadgets in this mode. LG also includes some mood-setters like a crackling fireplace or rain sounds. Iâm not sure how much use those will get in the real world, but itâs a thing you can do with your futuristic rollable TV.
Support for Alexa voice controls are being added this year in addition to the existing Google Assistant integration in LGâs webOS software; you just hold down the Prime Video button on the remote to bring up Alexa. And LG is also one of the companies thatâs adding Appleâs AirPlay 2 for easy media playback or device mirroring. You can play music on the Atmos speaker system even when the TV is fully rolled up, which is great. Port selection is on par with other premium LG sets, and theyâre all located at the back of the base. LG is making the move to HDMI 2.1 with its 2019 series, so thatâs a big plus in terms of future proofing this very expensive TV.
LG insists that customers donât lose or sacrifice anything in terms of picture quality by picking a rollable display over one of the rigid, standard OLED sets; this is supposed to be up there with the companyâs very best when it comes to brightness, contrast, and features the same second-generation Alpha 9 processing chip as LGâs other 2019 TVs. You get all of the OLED hallmarks like perfect blacks, great viewing angles, and a wide mix of vivid HDR color. But weâll have to wait for a direct comparison to see if there are any slight performance trade-offs.
But this TV has a secondary purpose beyond delivering a fantastic viewing experience: it can drop out of view whenever itâs not in use. The ugly black rectangle can be gone in seconds, leaving you to enjoy everything else about your living room. LG has been teasing bending, rollable displays for years at CES, but now itâs got a very real product thatâs nearly ready for consumers.
And damn, will it be expensive.
Remember that the companyâs âwallpaperâ OLED TV started at $8,000. This is significantly more impressive, so Iâm expecting it will be significantly pricier than that. For now, LG is only saying that it will be priced at a premium level when it hits retail in the spring â probably around March. So itâll be a few years before many people can afford a rollable 4K TV. But at least youâll get to admire its engineering at your local Best Buy in the meantime.