LG Display unveils first 42-inch OLED TV
After years where 55 inches was as small as OLED TVs got, 2020 finally gave us 48-inch models from both Sony and LG. And predictably they seem to have sold well - especially in the LG OLED48CX’s case, where the combination of a relatively small screen and support for all the latest gaming features gave it a truly unique selling point.
It’s no surprise then, to find LG Display announcing at its current virtual launch that it will start manufacturing 42-inch OLED TVs this year. The premium gaming/second room market has proved itself just too potentially large to pass up.
Before you start looking to get a pre-order down on a 42-inch OLED TV though, you need to note that the 42-inch OLED announcement has come from LG Display, not LG Electronics. LG Display is ‘merely’ a manufacturer of OLED panels for supply to TV and display brands; it doesn’t sell products directly to consumers. And at the time this story was written, no TV brand has announced that it will be adding a 42-inch OLED TV to its 2021 range - despite the most likely suspects, Sony and LG, having already gone public with initial details (including screen sizes) of their 2021 TV ranges.
It’s also worth remembering that the 2020 48-inch OLED Sony and LG models only joined the two brands’ ranges fairly late in the day last year; they weren’t available at the same time that the brands’ bigger screen sizes launched. So it’s still possible that we will see 42-inch TVs from them in the latter half of 2021.
LG Display also unveiled during its Virtual CES announcements a new 48-inch OLED display option that bends, so that you can turn it from a flat TV into a ‘wrap around’ gaming display. But experience suggests that this will struggle to get past concept stage given the apparent costs associated with mechanically flexible OLED panels.
Anyone thinking that the launch of a 42-inch OLED TV might pave the way to a significantly lower OLED entry price may need to brace themselves for bad news. Due to the way huge sheets of ‘mother glass’ are cut down to make different sizes of OLED TVs, last year’s 48-inch TVs ended up being more expensive than LG and Sony’s equivalent 55-inch models. So the first 42-inch models will likely be affected by the same ‘inefficient panel cutting’ issue, leaving them costing potentially more rather than less than bigger OLED models.
If 42-inch OLED TVs still sound too big for you, LG Display claimed among its CES announcements that it’s also making good progress on getting OLED displays down to 20 to 30-inch sizes for TV, gaming, mobility and personal display options.
Having seen early demos of similarly diddy OLED displays last year though, where they were shown in environments such as high-end car and aeroplane interiors, I can’t help but wonder if these true ‘portable’ OLEDs really are that close yet to becoming truly domestic propositions.
Maybe we’ll get a clearer idea at CES 2022.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.