Rollable and foldable OLED TVs are the future – here’s why

A fix for oversized smart TVs


The design of smart TVs is changing. Those trusty rectangles we rely on to stream and display our favorite Netflix shows, Amazon movies, and PS4 games are entering a new stage in their evolution, and it has everything to do with their size.

By Henry St Leger

Long gone are the days when having a home television meant a boxy CRT with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Now we’ve come to expect super-slim flatscreens to be flush against a wall, or massive 75-inch displays teetering on top of our media centers.

These new, larger form factors, though, are heralding a new design challenge for TV brands; namely, how to stop these ever-growing TV sizes from utterly dominating someone’s home.

The new flagship size for televisions is 55 inches – with 65-inch TVs being the fastest-growing category beside that. Some, like the Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED, even come in an 82-inch size in the US – acknowledging the generally larger homes over there compared to the UK.

That’s a lot of screen space to pack into any living room, and seeing as the average home isn’t increasing in size along with the average television, the buck is falling to TV manufacturers to design innovate ways to better blend displays in with their surroundings, or hide them away entirely.

LG is one of the best examples of this, with its rollable OLED – the Signature Series OLED R – widely expected to be launching in 2020, after its 2019 launch date didn’t quite come to pass.

This rollable OLED does exactly what you’d expect – being able to roll up, almost like a carpet, and then unfurl again out of its base / TV stand. You can even unfurl the screen to a third of its full height – at half-mast, as it were – as an OLED smart display for showing the time or weather information.

It’s clearly advanced tech, and an incredible feat of engineering that makes use of OLED’s flexible properties, ensuring that those after an OLED TV have an option that can easily hide away when the TV isn’t being used.

With LG manufacturing transparent OLED displays for retail, and Panasonic prototyping its first commercial set of that kind, we could well see TV screens able to switch between see-through window and home cinema at the click of a button.

Waiting in the wings

We’ve previously reported on Bang & Olufsen’s Beovision Harmony television, too, which has an adjustable wing-shaped TV stand able to cover up part of the screen – available in sizes as large as 88 inches.

Gavin Ivester, VP Design at Bang & Olufsen, tells us that this feature was the result of customer concerns over the “larger size of modern screens” – saying that, ”As screens increase in size, they certainly disrupt the flow of a room more.”

As a result, the design team “made Harmony shrink when you’re not using it for TV and movies. We gave it a smooth, automatic mechanism – the speakers pivot inward as the screen sinks down toward the floor.” More

By Henry St Leger