LG’s OLED Demos At CES Include OLED Canopy For Spin Bike Set-Up

December 23, 2021 by Dave Haynes

CES has long been a mega-show that is as much about getting attention with eye-popping and novel products as it is about showcasing electronics that clear-thinking consumers want and would buy. So in the great CES tradition of new products with dubious business cases or market demand, LG Display has put out press about a couple of “product concepts” that use flexible, paper-thin OLED displays.

The Virtual Ride is described as a “futuristic indoor stationary bicycle with three vertical 55-inch OLED displays in front of and above it. The advanced displays come together to form one large, curved, r-shaped display that gives users an immersive view both forward and above. The display that bends to create the ceiling above the rider has a curvature radius that reaches 500R, or a radius of 500mm, the most among existing large displays, which illustrates its superior flexibility.”

In addition, its futuristic, sleek design takes home exercise to a whole new immersive level, greatly improving the mood and ambiance in whatever room of your home you put it in. The OLED displays provide unparalleled lifelike colors with their vivid picture quality to make you really feel like you are cycling outside in a forest or down the street of a European village.

There is no estimated price provided, but we can assume this would be for the finite number of high net worth types who would think a $3,000 Peloton spin bike set-up is a bargain.

“Another new concept to be showcased by LG Display at CES 2022 is the Media Chair, a modern relaxation device seamlessly combining a 55-inch OLED TV display with an extremely comfortable recliner. The screen boasts a curvature radius of 1,500R, the optimal angle for the user, as well as the company’s built-in sound technology Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO), which enables the display to vibrate to make its own sound without the use of external speakers, offering a vivid sense of reality.”

“The chair display’s pivot function allows the screen to rotate between vertical and horizontal orientations at the touch of a button on the display of the armrest. This gives the user the unique opportunity to customize their immersive viewing experience thanks to the OLED technology to perfectly fit whatever content they want to watch.”

I would put this in the same category as those body massage chairs that are the size of compact cars, and look like they were designed by Japanese automobile companies. Interesting, wildly expensive, and with a form factor spouses would say “No way in hell is that sitting in our house!”

OLEDs are stunning, and as the technology matures some of its limitations like brightness are getting worked out. I love the flexibility and super-thin form factor, but there is definitely a whole “solution looking for a problem thing” going on with the product. Those thin and bendy properties seem like the sort of thing that would appeal more to commercial designers and architects, to create interesting spaces, than for what would be very expensive, low volume novelty products for the super-rich.

Then again, I just wrote about them, so in one small, narrow way, LG’s mission of getting attention out of CES was addressed.

The more boring, much higher volume side of the OLED display business will also be demo’d at CES: “various cutting-edge products during CES 2022 such as new OLED displays, OLED solutions fused with various fields, and high-end LCD displays designed for the IT industry.”

I definitely see possibilities for commercial OLED in areas like luxury retail and for signage applications that require high-detail imaging, like health care and natural resource exploration.

I am not attending CES – it’s a “line-ups everywhere, everything’s hard” kind of event in normal years. But I don’t even know what it will look like and how it will come off in early January, given the global health situation and travel restrictions.

LG is the global leader in OLED, but  I suspect the announcements coming out starting next week from other electronics giants will also have their share of product concepts that are more about buzz and attention, than genuine product development and management. Expect things robotics, AI and NFT to find their way into the PR descriptions.

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