LG's rollable OLED TV is certainly one of the most technically fascinating televisions on the market today. With the ability to furl and unfurl like a carpet, it offers a way to keep a high-spec OLED television out of view when not in use – and its mechanical function makes it one of the most ambitious sets out there.
Why then, are so few of them actually being sold?
Korea JoongAng Daily reports that only 10 LG rollable OLED TVs have been sold so far, a meagre number when you consider the two million OLED televisions sold by LG Electronics in the past year (via OLED-info).
The rollable OLED television – the LG Signature Series OLED R, to use its full title – was launched in October 2020, but exclusively in Korea, limiting availability even if LG continually makes noises about bringing the television further afield.
This 10-unit figure hasn't been officially confirmed by LG, mind – though a spokesperson did tell the South Korean outlet that "the priority of the Signature R model is not to reach as many consumers as possible", given its top-tier status and pricing, suggesting sales haven't been particularly high either way.
The chief analyst at UBI Research, too, told the publication that durability could be an issue for prospective buyers – as well as a reason behind the high price – given its "mechanically-complex structure" wasn't "as resilient as other organic light emitting diode(OLED)-based TV products."
The analyst, Yi Choong-hoon, added that "LG might consider the release as a symbolic showcase for future-centric technology," despite initial low sales.
The official price tag for the LG rollable OLED is ₩100,000,000 in South Korea, with a confirmed $87,000 equivalent when it eventually launches in the US. That latter figure converts to around £67,000 / AU$123,000 in the UK and Australia.
Merrily we roll along
The high price and durability concerns may well continue to throttle the potential growth of the LG rollable OLED TV, even if it has made it to market – unlike the LG rollable smartphone, which is still in development and even rumored to be preemptively cancelled.
It seems that rollable OLED tech isn't moving along so smoothly at LG, then, and the fact that the OLED television has yet to go global doesn't show much confidence in the technology so far.
It's a very different situation in the more commercial OLED TVs in LG's range, with last year's LG CX OLED proving a bestseller and helping to drive the company to all-new records of OLED television sales. This year's incoming LG C1 OLED, and a brightness-enhanced LG G1 Gallery Series OLED, look set to continue that success – while a new entry-level A1 OLED series will only bring the benefits of OLED to more buyers without massive budgets at their disposal.
Rollable may well be the future of OLED yet – but at this rate, it's still a long while off taking its place on the TV throne.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.