We’ve seen various flavors of transparent screens for years, and I’ve always wondered exactly what the utility of such things was, beyond a few niche tools like AR glasses or fighter pilot helmets. But LG’s latest stab at transparent TVs makes more sense on the final day of 2020, when literal barriers between people are a necessary part of life.
Take LG’s sushi bar demo, originally planned for CES, now being shown off in an early press release. The system utilizes a 55-inch, transparent OLED TV to let customers order dishes from a sushi restaurant while seeing the chef prepare the meal behind it. Sure, it’s nothing you couldn’t do with an iPad on the table and a piece of plexiglass, but at least it makes more sense than just looking at your living room wall. And once the chef’s done, guests can watch TV. The same technology is being applied to a transparent display on a train car, allowing passengers to see route info without blocking the view.
Another example is what LG is calling its “Smart Bed,” which includes a roll-out screen that rises from the foot of the bed. Why does it need to be transparent if it also rises out of nowhere? Who cares, it’s a CES demo, and unlikely to make its way into a retail product anytime soon. LG points out that the real innovation is the 40% transparency of these displays, a major boost over the 10% transparency factor of previous LCD-based see-through screens.