Just when you thought flat-panel TVs couldn't get any thinner, lighter or better-looking, LG throws something new against the wall.
The all-new W7 OLED is like no TV you've ever seen. It can't stand by itself on legs or a pedestal. Instead, it requires a wall. And when attached to that wall, it protrudes no further than a couple of coins stacked together: just 3.85 mm. That's 0.15 inch, so thin you'd never notice it from the side.
The 65-inch model weighs just 18 pounds and the 77-incher weighs 27. That's less than many 32-inch LCDs, light enough to attach just about anywhere, without worrying about in-wall studs or weight limits. LG includes a special flush-mounting plate, the top of which screws into the wall as usual, while the bottom sticks to the wall with magnets. It's even flexible enough to peel slightly away, if for no other reason than to blow your visitors' minds.
Many of the coolest products shown at CES are just concepts, but LG will begin shipping the 65-inch size in March for $8000 (roughly £6,580, AU$10,895). It will also be available in a 77-inch size, with pricing and availability to be determined. For reference LG's current, relatively thicker 77-inch OLED costs $20,000 (roughly £16,225, AU$27,515). Nobody said the future was cheap.
Thinning is just the beginning
With LCD-based televisions, going ultrathin often means sacrificing image quality, but according to LG the W7 will share the same image quality as its other 2017 OLED TVs.
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, a display technology found in phone and laptop screens too, although only LG makes large screen sizes with that technology. LG's OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality we've ever tested, beating LCD sets from Samsung, Sony and others in our tests over the last few years.
In 2017 LG says its OLEDs are even better, with 25 percent higher peak brightness (up to 1,000 nits in highlights) and better color (99 percent of the DCI color space). They'll also support four HDR formats: Dolby Vision and HDR10 (just like the 2016 models) as well as HLG and Technicolor (neither of which have content yet). A new "active HDR" mode is said to improve the image from HDR10 sources to mimic the dynamic metadata system used by Dolby Vision.
But what about power and HDMI cables? Speakers?
When I first encountered LG's ultrathin OLED TV, it was in concept form during a 2015 trip to LG Display's facilities in Korea. At the time LG's representatives said the intention was to make the "wallpaper TV" marketable, as soon as they could overcome hurdles like how to integrate connections and a power supply.
The W7 does so courtesy of a separate speaker bar. The bar connects to the wall-mounted portion of the TV via ribbon-thin, proprietary cable (up to 81 inches long) that carries video information and power. The backside of the bar houses HDMI and other inputs, into which you'll plug your gear.
One important note: that ribbon cable is not certified (up to code) for in-wall installation. I asked LG and they recommended consulting an installation professional, who can ensure your particular install is up to local code. For DIY installations, you should install the cable outside the wall.
The speaker bar handles Dolby Atmos and even has little pop-up speakers, but lacks surround speakers and a subwoofer. While it may sound good for a TV, it's no substitute for a dedicated surround-sound system.
LG W7 'picture-on-wall' OLED TV
- Available in 65- and 77-inch sizes
- Panel weighs 18 and 27 pounds, respectively
- 3.85mm deep including wall mount (panel depth 2.57mm)
- 4K resolution
- Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG and Technicolor HDR
- 1,000 nits peak brightness in highlights
- Covers 99 percent of DCI color space
- Included sound bar with Dolby Atmos
LG has also announced a bunch of relatively thicker OLED TVs that come with actual stands. As with last year, LG says all of its 2017 OLEDs have the same performance. Differences come down to styling, audio capabilities and other features unrelated to picture quality. Check out this post for more on the company's full 2017 OLED TV lineup.
Updated January 9 with pricing and availability for 65-inch size. Updated January 10 with information about the proprietary ribbon cable not being up to code.