CES 2024

LG and Samsung Are Making Transparent TVs — But Why Should We Care?

New see-through screens are apparently on the way.

LG transparent TV
CES 2024

It’s that time of year in tech — another CES. That means it’s time to (hopefully) get a glimmer of the future of gadgets, but also maybe time to scratch our heads and wonder... Why would I ever want or need this in my life?

Fulfilling both of those urges at once is a new breed of TV tech from Samsung and LG: transparent screens that use mini-LED and OLED displays.

Why Should I Care About See-Through Screens?

On the surface, see-through TVs just generally seem cool. I mean, the fact that they can even be made is enough to marvel at how far tech has come.

Plus, just check this thing out for yourself:

You don’t need to over-intellectualize something that looks so sick, right? Sort of. Call me a realist, but every time I see an interesting piece of technology, my next thought (after wow cool!) is usually: Who is this for?

Admittedly, that’s exactly what happened when I saw LG’s see-through OLED screen and Samsung’s version, which is the first transparent screen to use mini-LEDs. The “cool” of it all is self-explanatory, but the why part is where it gets interesting.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two companies that have really done a great job of shaking up the home entertainment space with TVs that blend into your home are interested in making transparent TVs a reality.

Samsung’s Frame, for example — a TV that turns into a piece of art when it’s not in use — has been a smashing success. The picture frame-like TVs have tapped into a salient feeling amongst people concerned with their decor that a massive black screen in your living room simply wasn't a good look.

Likewise, entries from LG’s Object Collection, the Posé for example, have occupied a similar space — toeing the line between TV and furniture, or at the very least just delivering a screen that doesn’t look garish in your carefully curated apartment.

It’s about clever design, and more importantly, about disguise. While a big piece of glass might not blend the same way a picture frame might, it’s still a lot more subtle than tossing a big, black panel into the middle of your living space.

I mean, LG’s offering — a 77-inch screen called the OLED T — even turns into a digital fish tank when it’s not in use. Plus, think about it: No more asking your neighbors to feed your fish while you’re away or dealing with that weird saltwater smell. To top it all off, LG is even combining its wireless tech that transmits a signal to a box that can be hidden away somewhere discreet. That means no wires hanging off your fish-tank-turned-TV.

A Fun Future for TVs

Like anything that debuts at CES, it’s hard to say whether transparent TVs are really the future, but what I will say is this: It’s not hard to picture why they could be. Our sensibilities as consumers and tech enthusiasts are changing, and TVs are changing with them.

As you may have already guessed, it could be a long time until that future happens, however. LG hasn’t even given an estimate on what its see-through TV will cost, and Samsung — again, the first company to use the brighter, less sensitive to light pollution, mini LED tech — is charging a blood-curdling $150,000 for its current 110-inch see-through panel.

There’s some work to be done here in getting the price to a dull roar, but I think I speak for lots of people when I say the fewer black voids we fill our living spaces with, the better.

INVERSE brings you everything from the fun and futuristic world of consumer technology at CES 2024. For all the latest technology coverage from the show, go to the INVERSE CES 2024 hub.

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