Oscar Wilde didn't like the look of the room he was dying in; his last words were "Either that wallpaper goes or I do." It's too bad he wasn't surrounded by the new OLED wallpaper-thin televisions that have just been demonstrated by LG Display. Soon we might be covering our walls with them and changing patterns like we now change the channel. 

TV in the 60sTVs have always been a design problem because they used to dominate our living spaces; they were big and heavy and as deep as they were wide. When they were on, you moved around to face them. When off, they were big lumps in the room. Then flat-screen liquid crystal displays arrived and people were hanging televisions on walls like pictures. It actually changed interior design practices as the problem of dealing with the television essentially went away; you could put them anywhere.

Now we can begin to imagine what our living rooms will be like in the future. LG Display's OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display is under a millimeter thick. It’s also flexible and can be rolled up or stuck on the wall with magnets. They can make OLED screens so thin because they're so simple. An electric current excites the organic dye molecule, causing it to emit light. It excites me too. When I first saw OLED lights. I imagined wallpapering walls and ceilings with sheets of them. Now we have OLED monitors that could do the same thing. The materials that they're made from are not expensive either; they will be selling this stuff by the roll soon. The head of LG display tells the Korea Times that it took a long time to master the production of earlier flat screens: “It has taken a year and half for us to raise the yield to this level (for OLEDs), while it’d taken nearly 10 years to achieve the yield for LCDs.”

room of the futureThe OLED screens are also brighter, have wider viewing angles and faster response times than LED displays. With the new 4K video resolution, screen sizes can be pumped up bigger than ever — perhaps covering the whole wall.

This will no doubt change interior design again, as the television totally disappears and becomes the wall — or a big portion of it, as foreseen by Philco-Ford in 1967. Also likely to disappear is the traditional movie theater, which is now just a big video projector. Soon the home theater will have higher resolution, not to mention cheaper popcorn. 

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Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.