The Screens Of CES

You’ll never look at screens the same again

Key Takeaways

  • Everything has a screen in 2021; even your refrigerator.
  • The most gimmicky-yet-impressive screen so far is LG’s bendy screen/speaker hybrid.
  • 34-inches is considered 'small' these days.
Cadillac Touchscreen Display

When you visit CES in person, there’s always a giant, unbelievably high-resolution TV screen somewhere in the place, and it’s always impressive. 

This year, CES is online, and there’s no giant screen to see. But there are still plenty of weird displays, from LG’s "smallest” OLED to Mercedes' 55-inch dashboard-shaped "hyperscreen." Let’s take a look at the screens of CES. 

When you think of screens, cars may not be the first place you look. CES has always had a massive car component, and this year we have a great crossover between cars and screens. Cadillac has put a 33-inch display behind the wheel of its Lyriq EV, and Mercedes has managed to squeeze in a 55-inch monster. 

Now, like pretty much every other consumer gadget, from microwaves to cameras, these cars are operated by touch screens. Gone are the easy-to-remember knobs and dials of the olden days—knobs that can be clicked and twisted without looking. Instead, you have to look away from the road in order to activate some pointless feature, while a distracted child steps out in front of you, unseen.

Still, at least they have cool names. Mercedes’ is called MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Actually, Mercedes’ screen is also called “Hyperscreen,” while Cadillac’s has no name. It does, however, claim "the highest pixel density available in the automotive industry today," and can display over a billion colors. That should reassure any pedestrians you hit while marveling at it. 

LG’s Bendy TV

Here’s another great idea: A bendy television. The snappily named Bendable Cinematic Sound OLED from LG starts out as a regular 48-inch TV, and can bend around the user when they play games. And if that doesn’t impress you, then this will: Instead of having built-in speakers, the screen is the speaker. The panel vibrates to create sound.

The Bendable Cinematic Sound OLED TV from LG.

One wonders if this vibrating screen might also perfectly simulate the way your eyeballs vibrate when rattling over cracked blacktop at 100 mph, which sounds perfect for a driving game. 

The Mandalorian Screen

One genuinely impressive screen at CES is the Crystal LED display, as used in Disney’s excellent Star Wars spinoff, The Mandalorian (which is not, despite its name, a show about a creature that is half man and half DeLorean car). The Mandalorian’s set uses a giant circle of these curved, high-resolution displays to show the various alien environments in the show. It’s like a fancy version of the rear-projection trick used in old movies, only it looks incredible.

Sonny's Mandelorian screems on the Mandelorian set.

The other neat part is that, because the displays wrap almost the whole way around the set, the characters are lit perfectly by their environment. There’s no need for expensive and slow post-production to add lighting, because it’s all done during filming. This makes shooting convincing virtual sets way easier and cheaper, and the actors have something to interact with. 

The See-Through Refrigerator Screen

How about a refrigerator with a giant screen in the door? Well, it’s more of a window than a screen, but it still responds to touch: Two sharp raps on the door will illuminate the refrigerator’s interior, so you can see what’s inside without opening the door. And if you do want to open it, you can ask the fridge to do it for you. Yes, LG’s 2021 InstaView fridge is voice activated, and if you tell it to open the door, it will. You’ll still have to reach in to grab your food/beverage of choice, but even so. Everyone’s tired of opening refrigerator doors, right?

LG InstaView Refrigerator

There will surely be more "excellent" screens and displays announced this week during CES, but if it’s not a bendy, wraparound screen that turns your refrigerator into the Mandalorian set, then we’re not interested.

Want more? See all our coverage of CES 2021 right here.

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