At first glance, it looks like a glass pane in a sliding door, but with a push of a button or wave of a hand a television screen instantly appears. Panasonic has been improving its transparent television since unveiling it at the Consumer Electronics Show, with the goal of making it completely invisible. The firm swapped out the LED screen for an OLED and now when in transparent mode, the set is completely undetectable - allowing users to clearly see through it.
An OLED screen uses self-lighting pixels, while an LED uses a backlight to illuminate its pixels. The Japanese electronic maker's innovation was first seen at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this past January in Las Vegas Nevada. Not only has Panasonic created an invisible set, the firm also improved the image to where it is ‘almost indistinguishable from existing televisions’, reports Matthew Smith with Engadget.
The earlier prototype required a backlight to enhance the image on the screen but now, users can see a clear and bright picture without anything giving it a boost in the background. To show off the improved model, the firm embedded the OLED screen, which is developed from fine mesh, into the glass sliding doors of a large entertainment center. While not in use, consumers can see the vases and statues that sit behind it on the shelves.
The TV is still a prototype, and is unlikely to be available for at least three years, according to a Panasonic spokesperson. The cost is also unknown. Panasonic has also designed their invisible TV to act as a virtual juke box. A gesture-controlled music app lets users search through digital music on one half of the display, while still seeing through on the other.
Prior to the enhanced version, the firm wasn’t happy with the transparency levels when the screen was shut down – a tint in the clear glass was still visible. But it seems that Panasonic has fixed the issue and users can see clearly through the glass. Although this invisible TV stunned the crowd at CES, there was another promising technology unveiled that show just as much promise.
LG showcased a rollable 18-inch TV screen that, although still a prototype, could soon be used on smartphones and in-car screens that curve around a vehicle’s interior. Another impressive concept design was an OLED TV with another OLED TV on the back. The 55 inch screen has a tiny bezel and 1080p imagery on both sides. LG says you can program different content to play on either end.
With its Picture-on-Glass concept, the G6 and E6 series were reduced down to an 2.57-mm screen. They are fitted with transparent glass backs, making them some of the most stunning TVs on show. Away from its concept designs, LG has a series of OLED 4K TV sets that are as thin as four credit cards stacked together.
4K, which has been touted as 'the next big thing' in TVs for some time, is continuing to be promoted by manufacturers, with 8k also making an appearance.