LG Electronics mulls transparent OLED TV launch in 2023

Mike Wheatley

LG Display has reportedly asked its parent firm LG Electronics to consider launching a consumer-grade transparent OLED television for the mass market.


That’s according to a story in The Elec, which said the display making subsidiary has proposed it sells a 55-inch transparent OLED model. If the idea gains approval, LG would presumably launch the TV in 2023, the report said.

Transparent OLED technology is nothing new, and has been shown off at various trade shows in the form of prototype displays. It has made its mark in the commercial display market too, helping to jazz up subway train windows in Chinese cities. Some Chinese homes also have transparent OLED TVs, courtesy of local brand Xiaomi, which launched the first model of its kind in 2020.

Whether people will accept transparent OLED tech in their living rooms remains to be seen. Xiaomi’s model reportedly sold very few units and was later discontinued. That suggests people didn’t appreciate the TV’s transparency, which is not surprising given that it means sacrificing one of the biggest benefits of OLED, namely its pure blacks.

The problem is that in regular OLED displays, the pixels that don’t emit light are black by default. With the transparent versions however, the pixels are see-through, meaning the blacks they produce are artificial and can never be as deep.

LG Display has been working hard to overcome those problems though. Last year for instance it said it partnered with the German smart glass company Gauzy to create a transparent OLED panel with a laminated surface integrating Suspended Particle Device technology to improve the brightness of the displays.

With the SPD switched on, the transparent OLED panel is dimmed to the desired opacity based on the level of ambient lighting it detects. LG said it can block up to 99% of the sunlight that hits the display to provide high contrast in bright environments. That, it said, makes it ideal for use on public buses, for example.

For now, the prospect of a transparent OLED TV reaching living rooms in any other country but China remains just that – a prospect. LG Electronics will review the proposal, but it is unlikely to make a decision on the matter for several months, The Elec said.