97-inch OLED.EX: the bigger and brighter panel that makes amazing sound on its own

By Alex Jensen – 

Out of a stream of impressive tech innovations this year has appeared what might be the best television panel solution ever. For the first time in Korea, LG Display is demonstrating its 97-inch OLED.EX panel. It’s part of the company’s vast 320 m2 booth at K-Display, a major tech event being held in the South Korean capital from August 10-12. And those of us based in Seoul have had the chance to meet this massive panel for ourselves. And why not, considering this TV panel seems to have it all – awesome image quality, brilliant cinematic sound, and sleek design on a big scale.

At first glance, it’s the size that hits you. After all, 97 inches is the largest OLED panel ever made. In most living rooms, it’s going to feel cinematic on that basis alone. As it’s OLED, naturally you’re also going to get vivid colors and fantastic contrast, including perfect black. But then you have the ‘OLED.EX’ tag, meaning it has a brightness boost of up to 30% because of the addition of deuterium to the organic light-emitting diodes along with the incorporation of personalized algorithm-based ‘EX Technology.’

Yet, the clincher for this TV panel is what you don’t see, but rather hear – CSO, or Cinematic Sound OLED, technology. LG Display says this new 97-inch OLED.EX display boasts its special ‘Film CSO’ technology, with a 5.1 channel surround sound system embedded into the screen, “creating a performance that offers a cinematic level of immersion.” Wait a minute, you might ask, how is that possible without installing an external speaker setup?

With CSO, LG Display has created sound technology that works in a similar way to the tiny holes in movie theater screens, through which sound emanates from speakers behind the screen. The difference with CSO is that exciters are placed within the OLED panel itself, vibrating to create sound where the on-screen action is happening. This is possible because the self-emissive nature of OLED panels allows them to be ultra-thin. Even better, LG Display’s CSO has evolved from coil-type to film exciters, hence ‘Film CSO’ – meaning they are slimmer, lighter, and offer the design advantage of an even thinner panel. You can also fit more of them within a large TV panel, which is why ‘Film CSO’ is a major factor behind the immersive power of this 97-inch OLED.EX display.

It’s also great timing to be celebrating a large TV panel like this, as big TVs are rapidly growing in popularity this year. The market for TVs exceeding 80 inches is booming and is set to grow by over 28% this year, according to market watcher Omdia last month. This is even more impressive when you consider that Omdia also expects overall global TV shipments to fall by about 4.74 million units in 2022 compared with 2021. As the market evolves, TVs sized 70 inches and up are set to make up more than 20% of sales for the first time ever.

It’s not only the 97-inch OLED.EX that has a bright future, however. As I made my way through the rest of LG Display’s largest ever booth at K-Display, I got to enjoy some of the company’s other OLED technologies that form its vision of the future under the theme ‘A city inspired by OLED.’

Clearly, Transparent OLED is an important part of this vision, as LG Display’s booth features many of the cutting-edge ideas that point to the way high-end transparent screens could transform various spaces. One concept from the show particularly stands out in this regard. Transparent OLED Solution for Conference Room (E-Crystal), a full glass wall equipped with Transparent OLED panels, is an innovative application that most of us have only caught glimpses of in sci-fi shows.

Among the other Transparent OLED products on show is one that we have already seen applied commercially. Transparent Media Art Wall is being demonstrated at K-Display with 16 OLED displays in a tiled formation, and it looks stunning. But if you want to see an even bigger version out in public, it’s been applied in a cluster of 22 displays as a key part of the record-breaking 38 Transparent OLEDs installed by Korean bakery Paris Baguette in June. It’s also reminiscent of LG Display’s Transparent OLED Photo Wall that graced this year’s Young Collector’s Council Party at the Guggenheim, with a 3×3 configuration offering a compelling souvenir opportunity for those attending the gathering in New York City.

All in all, K-Display has the feel of a breakthrough event with some amazing products and concepts being demonstrated at a big tech show in Seoul. As the pandemic wanes, hopefully we can look forward to much more of what LG Display has showed us in the South Korean capital this week.

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