LG could launch its first transparent OLED TV in 2024

Mike Wheatley

LG Electronics is said to be mulling the idea of launching its first-ever consumer-focused transparent OLED TV in 2024, according to a report from South Korean website The Elec.


The report says that LG Electronics is being encouraged to go ahead with the move by its display-making subsidiary, LG Display. The parent company is said to be swayed by the idea, in light of the challenge its OLED TVs are facing from Samsung Display’s QD-OLED models, but any such model is unlikely to be launched in 2023.

One reason for the delay is that demand for consumer electronics such as TVs have fallen significantly due to the global economic slowdown. As such, LG believes it makes sense to wait, sources familiar with the matter told The Elec.

LG Display is said to have first suggested the idea of a transparent OLED TV to its parent company earlier this year. It wants LG Electronics’ Home Entertainment Company to launch a 55-inch transparent OLED television first, to test consumer’s reaction to the novel technology.

The Elec said that development of any transparent OLED TV would likely take around 12 months, but nothing has happened so far, meaning 2024 is the earliest possible launch date for such a TV.

LG Display is a pioneer of transparent OLED displays, but until now it has envisaged the technology being used for commercial applications rather than living rooms. For instance, it has equipped Chinese subway trains with transparent OLED signage that provides information to travellers. It has also shown off various transparent OLED concepts, such as transparent OLED floors, digital canvases for artists and more.

Until now, the only company to launch a transparent OLED TV is China’s Xiaomi, which launched the Xiaomi Mi Lux TV in 2020, with a panel supplied by LG Display. However, the Mi Lux TV reportedly struggled to capture the imagination of consumers, with The Elec saying sales were “meager at best”. 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. In 2021 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.

Whether or not these improvements would make any difference remains to be seen though, as it’s not really clear what advantages a transparent display would bring to the average living room.