LG Gets Super Skinny

One of the reasons everyone wants OLED TVs is because they can be so incredibly thin. But LCD panels are getting remarkably thin in spite of the need for a bright backlight to make them work. High brightness LEDs arranged along the edge of the panel with complex light guides do a great job of delivering lots of light where it’s needed. Last summer, I reported the Samsung demonstration at the Society for Information Display conference, where they showed a 24″ panel just 3.8 mm thick.

Well, get out your razors because LG has now sliced the salami even thinner. The company has demonstrated a 42″ panel that is just 2.6 mm thick. That is just over one-tenth of an inch thick. Even for a jaded display industry watcher like me, that’s impressive.

Now the bad news. It’s a prototype. There are no announced plans to put it into production. At this point, it’s just a development exercise designed to grab a superlative in the LCD panel market, though I expect that it will lead to improvements in production panels as well. And note that this is just the panel; additional electronics required to turn it into a TV set, which will have to add some thickness.

Also, I don’t completely get the fascination with thin for big TVs. Yes, it makes them lighter and easier to move around, but how often do you do that? And when you’re watching it from straight on, you can’t tell if it’s 0ne-tenth of an inch thick, or 10 inches. Still, they do look sleek and sexy, and I get that. And with some luck, I’ll get to see one of these new LG panels at CES in two weeks.