LG’s new OLED R rollable TV has made its way to the US market, and with a $100,000 price, you are not likely to bump into one soon. That said, TV history shows that outlandish prices can drop like a stone over the years, and products that were once available to excentric millionaires are now in ordinary homes.
Huge flat TVs are a perfect example, as excellent 82+ inch 4K TVs retail for around $1500 to $1900, which is quite extraordinary given how much inferior technology retailed for, just ten years ago.
The LG Rollable OLED TV might be a new extreme example of a technology that goes mainstream in the next years. Today’s $100k price for the first OLED R TV is primarily due to the low-volume manufacturing (you get a fancy white-glove delivery experience, though).
These TVs are practically built by hand and upon order only, so there’s a lot that could be optimized if volume ramps up.
Secondly, the frame around the rollable OLED panel could, and will, be cost-reduced as well. When we first looked at the OLED R in 2019, the engineering of the panel was impeccable but given time and experience, more could be simplified.
By the way, the 2021 OLED R currently hitting the market has upgraded to the best features found in LG’s newest C-series OLED TVs, including the latest OLED panels and image processor and gaming features support.
For example, it might be possible to use more affordable materials to get a better ratio between endurance and cost and to a point where it’s solid enough at a much lower price.
Some might discard the rolling OLED panel as a gimmick, but given the public’s reaction in 2019, there is a demand for this if the price is affordable enough. That is probably where LG eventually wants to go.
There’s no question that LG’s relentless work and investment in OLED panels are paying off big time today. LG is the leader in the high-quality TV market, and people rave about its products.
But the rise of micro-LED as another self-emitting display technology will steal some thunder from OLED and might allow competitors to offer very compelling “classic” flat-TV products.
Rollable TV or ultra-thin OLED TVs like LG’s gallery TV convert fundamental OLED strengths into features people want to make their TVs integral design elements in their homes.
How fast can LG make rollable TV technology affordable? It’s hard to tell, but the price of 50” TVs decreased by a factor of 40X since they initially retailed for $20k, not that long ago. Following the same trajectory, a $100k rollable TV might hit $2500 sooner than you’d think.