As we expected, all the usual television manufacturers were showing their 8K TVs at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. 8K televisions are absolutely beautiful, but it’s hard to justify the technology and price when the content just isn’t there. That will change. NHK has launched an 8K channel in Japan, but think of this more like the early days of HD. Remember those channels—and shows on PBS—showcasing stunning aerial footage of national parks and beautiful landscapes? That’s what you can expect in the short term. When we do get 8K content, the other factor to consider is screen size. If you’re not in the market for at least a 75” display or larger, you’re just not going to notice enough of a difference here.
What did catch our attention at CES was LG’s gorgeous, new OLED TV R. That’s R for “rollable,” the TV that can roll up and hide away. Sure, sure…we’ve seen the now-largely abandoned curved screens, the flexible displays that could curve dynamically, and even a concept screen design that could adjust aspect ratio on the fly.
What LG’s showing is more practical, more polished, and much more real. LG’s rollable OLED TV R is a 4K 65” display that rolls down into a case that doubles as an Atmos-capable sound bar. When fully extended, you’d never suspect this was different from any other OLED display. It sports all the inky blacks, bright whites, and eye-popping color you’ve come to expect from LG. The edges are as rigid as you’d expect on such a display, without a hint of instability or curling.
Shut it down, and the R entirely retreats into its base, complete with a flap that conceals the long slit along the top, leaving what accurately appears to be no more than a long speaker. It harkens back to the days of the old console TV, but, of course, you need to provide your own credenza now.
LG isn’t talking pricing yet, but they expect to release the product “later this year” (a direct quote). The Signature badge is LG’s high-end branding. We figure this will probably fall somewhere in the mid teens ($13-17K) once available. That may seem expensive, but compared to a comprable 65E plus the cost of building a lift system into a piece of furniture, that’s likely not too far out of line. This is clearly targeted to that custom market. Plus: what price can you put on the look on your friends’ faces when you turn this thing on?
Keep an eye on all of our CES 2019 coverage right here.