In the world of smart tvs There have been several historical moments in which manufacturers have proposed to incorporate supposed improvements that have not finished conquering the end user, as has been the case, for example, of 3D TVs or curved models.
One of the latest iterations in this trend are televisions with transparent panels, capable of generate images on a translucent sheet that lets you see what’s behind the screen. They are spectacular and amazing at first glance, but their real utility is yet to be found, especially for the home consumer.
Brands such as LG, Samsung or Panasonic have been showing their proposals in a new sector at fairs in recent years that creates a lot of expectations both inside and outside the home.
Another of the greats, Xiaomi, announced last year the launch of the My TV LUX Transparent Editionits version of a transparent television for the “masses” based on OLED technology, with 55 inches and a 120 Hz panel. It promised a lot but finally the interest of conventional users does not seem to have made the invention take off.
The technology is already here, but we don’t know what to do with it
The key question of the matter is simple but still does not have a clear answer:Why would we want to hang a transparent TV on the wall or put it on the living room furniture if there is nothing interesting to see behind it? Well, probably not at all.
Transparent teles are not for this, since its main objective is not to watch DTT, a movie, series nor play a few games on the console, but rather show overlay information in certain use cases, many of which are yet to be defined.
In some of the presentations of recent years some ideas have been given in this regard. For example, at the Panasonic Convention, the Japanese manufacturer told us of its intention to put this type of translucent screens or panels in the kitchen and living room for example inserted in furniture as a protective glass of a showcase. They were the most striking and promising, but for now the usefulness and interest of the proposal seem to have been diluted.
LG is another of the big players in this new trend and in recent years it has been proposing touch models with its Transparent OLED Touch. In this way, it is possible to have a more advanced and easy-to-control interface without the need to use a remote control or a mobile phone. But again, the real applications are yet to come.
From showcases to virtual fish tanks through false windows
In theory, this transparent screen technology is ideal for providing a graphic interface to household appliances such as refrigerators with semi-transparent doors that allow food to be seen and display superimposed information, design extractor hoods, augmented reality mirrors, multimedia glass tables and showcases for the living room, as well as other types of connected objects that are yet to come.
In fact, LG is promoting contests for designers from all over the world to contribute possible ideas to their transparent OLED panels, something that they have collected, for example, in the latest edition of the OLED Go! where ideas as peculiar as a screen that simulates being a fireplace with virtual fireTVs that function as screens and others that can be rotated and display different superimposed information.
Another even more recent example now comes from the Japanese creative agency Image Source (IMG SRC), which, similar to LG, launched an ideas competition a few months ago to explore the potential of transparent screensthis time with a most curious result.
For example, among the most absurd proposals we find a transparent panel that simulates being a window full of mist and moisture. When we pass our hand over it, we remove that humidity as it happens in the real world and even the droplets of water dripping down are simulated.
They have also been working on a kind of virtual fish tank or terrarium in which aquariums and environments are represented with animals that seem to move as in the real world but when we want we can zoom in and click on them to display additional information about their characteristics, name, etc.
Finally, they have created a kind of communications table between several users divided by a transparent TV on which different information is superimposed, such as the state of mind of the interlocutors.
As we can see, at the moment the proposals are very spectacular but their real utility in a real house of a conventional user remains to be seen. Will this trend of transparent TVs be the new curvature of the screens of this decade? We’ll see it.