Panasonic reveals the 'invisible' TV: Prototype OLED screen turns into transparent glass when not in use
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.
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 CES 2016, with the goal of making it completely invisible
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 Mathew 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.
HOW TRANSPARENT SCREENS WORK
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens produce light when electricity is applied through them.
They are used to create digital displays in devices such as TV screens, computer monitors, portable systems, handheld game consoles and smartphones.
This material does not need a backlight and filters, unlike LCD displays, which makes them more efficient, easier to make and much thinner.
It also means that they have the option to become transparent.
An OLED panel is made up of a layer of plastic sandwiched between two electrodes - the cathode and anode - all deposited on a glass substrate.
When electricity is fed through the plastic, it emits light on its own, which is why no backlight is needed.
As the name suggests, transparent OLED screens are made up only of transparent components (cathode, anode and substrate).
When the panel is on, the self-illuminating pixels produce a picture, and when the screen is off, the components go back to being transparent.
The panel requires so little electricity that the panel can be incredibly thin, making it practically invisible.
Viewers looking at the 'invisible' screen on Panasonic's prototype up close would see that it is in fact a very fine grid.
OLEDs can also be designed to be more flexible and even rollable.
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.
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 behind it. Panasonic also improved the image to where it is ‘almost indistinguishable from existing televisions’
Panasonic has also designed their invisible TV to act as a virtual juke box or user scan pull up other information such as weather and recipes with just using hand gesutres
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.
TVS PROMISE SHARPER COLORS, BUT NOT MUCH TO WATCH
For years, TV makers have focused on making pictures sharper by squeezing more pixels onto screens.
Now, their attention is shifting to improving the way sets display color, with a newish technology called HDR taking center stage.
HDR, or high dynamic range, promises brighter whites, darker blacks, and a richer range of colors — at least when you're watching the few select movie titles that get released in the format.
Trouble is, there aren't all that many of those yet, and other HDR viewing options are likely to remain scarce for the immediate future.
Even worse, there are likely to be several different flavors of HDR, just to keep TV buyers on their toes.
To date, there have been only a handful of releases, including 'The Martian' and Amazon's original series 'Mozart in the Jungle.'
More are coming, and Netflix aims to join Amazon this year in streaming some HDR titles, but getting an HDR-ready set still mostly means preparing for the future.
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.
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 now, users will notice by switching to an OLED screen, the display is completely transparent
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.
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 (pictured) that could soon be used on smartphones and in-car screens
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.
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