LG's $100,000 Rollable OLED TV: The Future of Home Entertainment

(Image credit: LG)

This week, I went to the LG Exploratorium, a cutting-edge facility housed in the company's New Jersey campus and brimming with interactive technology activities. The LG Signature OLED R that was on show was the main attraction that drew me to the Exploratorium. It's perhaps better known as the miraculous mobile TV that costs $100,000.|

Versions of this flexible set have been seen by Tom's Guide previously, most recently at CES 2019. However, this is the first time I've seen it in use and one of the first occasions the LG Signature OLED R has been shown off as a finished product that can be bought.

It's still unclear who exactly is prepared to pay six figures for a television. My mom said J.Lo could be interested in the TV once I told her what it could do and how much it costs. Richard Branson, I estimated, could purchase around two rolling OLEDs for each ticket buyer for Virgin Atlantic's space mission.

Do not misunderstand me. I'd buy the LG Signature OLED R without a doubt if I had that much money lying around. I doubt I would become weary of seeing the 65-inch screen appear out of nowhere when a button is pressed. You can just tuck your TV away with this set if you've ever felt that it's an eyesore.

I was a little nervous at first to take the TV's remote and use it as a roll control. However, after a few unfolds, I settled into a beat.

What can you buy for $100,000 with the LG Signature OLED R?

While motorized lifting TVs and flexible OLED displays are nothing new, LG's OLED R rolls into a little compartment that looks like furniture I'd really want in my house. Additionally, the compartment has a synthetic Dolby Atmos sound system, so if the $100,000 is too much for you, you may save a little money on a soundbar. Fortunately, neither the updated webOS software nor the entire HDMI 2.1 array constitute an additional expense.

The UI was easy to use because I had evaluated the LG G1 OLED TV with OLED evo a few months prior. The previous iteration of webOS, which allowed you to browse programs without interfering with what was already running, is still my favorite. However, the LG Signature OLED R's line view—a tidy configuration where the display just half unfolds to provide a picture gallery, input tool bar, or straightforward clock—provided a way out.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the rolling OLED appeared competitive, despite the lack of proprietary lab test findings. The LG C1 OLED TV, the newest member of the C-series, is touted to perform similarly. The 65-inch C1 OLED costs 1/40th as much as the rolling marvel, at $2,499 at retail. To make the expense of the OLED R worthwhile, the image quality has to be on par with the company's best-selling set.

Aside from price puns, you probably want to know about durability. The glass that is attached to the OLED layer would appear to be under stress as the panel repeatedly curled and unfurled. There are several sites of failure between moving elements that become damaged from everyday usage or cease moving smoothly.

But according to LG, the OLED R is rated for 100,000 unfolds, or 20 times a day for 20 years. For the record, during the most recent hands-on session, I haven't seen anything that would cause me to be worried. Many times it rolled gently, and each time it was equally amazing to see.

Outlook on LG Signature OLED R:

For $100,000, you can currently get the iconic LG OLED R. No more sizes are currently promised, and it is only available in the 65-inch form. Although LG declined to comment on the anticipated sales volume of these TVs, it did disclose that the rollable OLEDs are being produced using a unique line and unique materials.

For the time being, seeing the state-of-the-art equipment in action is astounding. I won't order the LG Signature OLED R unless someone can lend me $100,000, ideally interest-free. However, as we've seen with other mainstream TV technology and flexible phones, the cost is high initially until manufacturing becomes more efficient, and after that, who knows? Perhaps everyone among the common folk will have a mobile TV in their living room.


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