We all know that using TVs for digital signage isn’t the best idea, for a variety of operating and technical reasons. But people who do this stuff day in and out also know that a lot of TVs get used – to shave costs, because the demands are pretty light, or because the TVs just look so damn good.
Which brings me to news that LG is about to start selling flat 55-inch and 65-inch 4K OLED TVs in parts of Europe and the U.S. The key here is that these are the first flat – as in not curved – OLEDs, so they’d far better serve the intended purpose of signage in places like a corporate lobby.
The 55-inch versions are – somewhat insanely – just 4.8 mm thick, which for the metric-impaired is less than 1/4-inch. The bezels are also describe as razor-thin.
The super skinny bit aside, the attraction of OLED is terrific color reproduction and the sort of true blacks you’d see in high-end plasmas, as opposed to the charcoal gray of LCD.
All of LG’s 4K OLED TVs feature webOS 2.0, which means it has system on chip inside and could be a fairly rudimentary digital sign, even without an external player.
The units will be available by the end of August in Germany, Korea, the US and UK, “with the rollout to continue over the next several months in select markets.”
LG is putting a lot of investment into the OLED market. If OLED starts to really sell, it’s reasonable to think commercial OLEDs will follow. However, the AV nerd community – from what I have read – have differing opinions on whether OLED has the same screen burn-in/image retention issues that early plasmas had. In other words, leaving the same content on an OLED screen for hours might leave a lasting ghost of an image.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.