Although our time at CES 2023 has come to an end, it is still worthwhile to highlight some of the show’s highlights. One that has received a lot of attention is from an upstart company called Displace. LG’s new Signature OLED M eliminates all wires except the power cord, which Displace is also attempting to eliminate. The company demonstrated a completely 55-inch new wireless OLED smart TV in Las Vegas, powered by four hot-swappable batteries.
In the electronics industry, innovation is frequently claimed but rarely delivered. So when Displace told me it was working on an extremely innovative smart TV, I took it easily. And yet if they didn’t tell me about at least five innovations in television that I’d never seen before. Also in a couple of cases, these are ideas I’ve never considered before, at least not on television.
The price of one Displace TV costs $3,000. For that price, you get the display (which appears to be a standard LG new wireless OLED smart TV), four batteries (with a charging station), and a base hub that wirelessly transmits all of your entertainment to the 55-inch screen. (While the base station was not on display at Displace’s CES booth, representatives said it will use Wi-Fi 6E for a strong connection when communicating with the TV.)
While the underlying technology is not novel, the 55-inch, 20-pound 4K TV is based on an OLED panel from LG Displace promises features that no TV manufacturer has ever brought to market. I suppose I should say they promised to bring it to market. We don’t know when or how much this TV will be available for purchase.
The Displace TV promises to be truly innovative
Surprisingly, the new Displace TVs will be completely wireless. Not entirely wireless OLED smart TV, as in Samsung’s OneConnect box, which uses a thin fibre-optic cable to deliver audio-video signals as well as power to the panel. We’re talking wireless, as in battery-powered, with A/V signals streaming over Wi-Fi. According to Displace, a full charge will provide a full month of use based on six hours of viewing per day.
The following odd thing is related to how the TV is mounted to the wall: With suction cups, or something similar. While I haven’t seen it in action, Displace founder and CEO Balaji Krishnan compares it to how a dash cam sticks to your windscreen or a shower rack mounts to the wall. However, Displace’s technology is powered by the same batteries that power everything else. Krishnan claims that if the surface is sufficiently smooth, you can simply press the TV against the wall and it will stick. I had visions of disaster after having myriad shower racks eventually lose vacuum and fall off. Krishnan also described a built-in safety system in the television.
When a piece of tape is stretched or snapped, it activates the airbags, and a second sensor activates them if it detects negative gravity much like a free-fall sensor protects a dropped hard drive. That is, at least, my assumption regarding the latter feature, which Krishman described as “traditional.”
Those two ideas alone make some of the Displace TV’s other innovations seem almost insignificant in comparison. To begin, you can send wireless streams to multiple TVs from a single Wi-Fi 6e-powered box. Second, the Displace TV is modular, which means you can connect multiple panels to create a much larger display. Who wants a 220 inch television? We’ve seen the latter in demonstrations for example, Sony’s Crystal LED and Samsung’s The Wall but not in TVs that the average Joe would consider putting in his living room.
Some Great Features
According to Displace, you’ll be able to treat physically adjacent displays as separate screens and watch different base station feeds on each one. Remember when there were multiple tuners and picture-in-picture modes? They’re returning. Also in the works are 30-inch models that will be more suitable for smaller spaces.
Multiple high-resolution video streams will consume a lot of bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network, but a Wi-Fi 6e router and a high-speed broadband connection should be able to handle it with ease. According to our sources, Displace TV’s base unit will not have an over-the-air TV tuner or cable or satellite TV connections, but it does have a Linux-based operating system, so such features can be added if the company sees fit.
I was initially sceptical of the Displace TV’s one distinguishing feature: the lack of a physical remote control. Instead, you’ll use hand gestures and/or voice commands to control the set. Gesture control will, of course, be dependent on a camera perched atop the TV, but Displace claims that if you’re concerned about privacy, this component can slip down out of sight.
Displace TV is thrilling and potentially game-changing
Personally, I couldn’t care less about eliminating the need for a power cord or suction mounting. Those things may be super clever, sexy, as well as probably very nice to have, but they are ultimately of secondary importance when it comes to TV watching. On the other hand, I really like the multiple wireless feeds and modularity. You’ll be able to watch multiple games without having to change channels!