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LG unrolls a new kind of TV screen

Blogs like this one have a tendency to get rather doom-laden with the passing of time. As the political disappointments pile up and are fretted about, it tends to be forgotten that things could be a hell of a lot worse, and that in the meantime that there is much to celebrate.

Things like new gadgets and inventions. The one that I noticed recently was this new roll-up TV screen. That’s a link to a bit of video of an actor of rather modest means pretending to be a rich guy, of the sort who early-adopts such things as roll-up TV screens, before they are really good and way before they are cheap, but who is so very rich that this really doesn’t matter. He is not so much an impatient and/or extravagant idiot. He is more like a patron, giving the techies who did this, and who still have another decade of improvements and price-reductions to graft away at, a bit of well-deserved encouragement, for having at least got the thing working, sort-of, to the point where their bosses are now willing to boast about it. Well done lads, keep up the good work.

Here is another bit of video showing off the same device.

Whether this particular LG version of the roll-up TV screen will ever work well I do not know. But some time soon, this gadget and other gadgets a lot like it will surely start working very well, and then ever more cheaply and compactly. Hurrah. I suspect that roll-up TV screens will be very popular, just like flat TV screens before them, and for very similar reasons.

The sales pitch offered in the first bit of video linked to above is that you will be able to roll the screen down into its small horizontal case, and then enjoy your expensive view through your expensively vast window. Or maybe the story here is that you are such a superior person that only you need know that you ever watch television at all. As for me, I am perpetually pushed for space in my little London home, and a roll-up TV might give me a further little bit of accessible CD shelf space. (Please spare me the anti-CD comments. I like them. If you can’t read that without telling me to stop with the CDs, well, the bit in brackets here.)

Another major plus that will follow from this roll-up TV screen being perfected is that a mobile computer would need then only be the size of its keyboard, because the screen could be the same width as that keyboard, but any old height you want, when you unroll it. Will the standard screen of a computer morph from smallish landscape, if you get my drift, to about-three-times-as-big roll-up portrait? In the age of mobile portrait-type phone screens, that might make sense. As might rolling them up only a little, when rolling them up a lot might be rather anti-social or inconvenient.

Roll-up TV screens will be both big enough to see from a bit of a distance, and yet also small enough to carry around with you without too much fuss. So they’ll be a godsend for people giving talks in unfamiliar surroundings, where they want to show computer imagery but don’t want to depend on their hosts to supply a working big screen.

One final point, about all such developments. I vaguely recall doing a posting here about how a man I admire a lot, Steve Davies, has been arguing that we need different history dates, to celebrate the creative achievements of free people, and to replace the insignificant and frequently very destructive moments, individual or collective deaths mostly, associated with the doings of mere governments. Yes, here we are. But I now think that the whole idea of having alternative dates of this sort is a mistake. What does it matter exactly when the shipping container became the benign influence upon the world that it now is, or the Jumbo jet, or the communications satellite, or the personal computer, or the pencil, or the water mill, or the wheel? Or the roll-up TV screen? The way to identify these various gadgets is the way I just did, with words that allude to and label them. Searching for an exact date for each one is a waste of time.

Recently, I have been waving around the date that is May 24th 1844, this being exactly the day when Samuel Morse first publicly demonstrated his electric telegraph and his Morse Code. But it you want to say that the really important bit of that story happened a bit earlier, or for that matter a bit later, for this or that reason, well, fine. The point is: the electric telegraph and the Morse Code, some time around then. The whys and wherefores of these great steps forward are worth celebrating, by naming them. The exactly-whens don’t really signify. Approximately-when will do just fine. Just because we know exactly when some King died, or exactly when a particular and particularly bloody battle occurred, doesn’t mean we have to fret about exactly which bit of creativity was the most creative, in some quite long drawn-out stretch of creative endeavour, such as is now occurring with these roll-up TV screens. The point is: roll-up TV screens! Some time around … now!

9 comments to LG unrolls a new kind of TV screen

  • Ellen

    With luck, you can date an explosion or a death down to the minute. Technology is less cooperative. Take the pacemaker as an example.

    It’s not hard to see the “re-animation chair of Doctor DeSantis” as an early form of pacemaking. (Richard Reece’ The Medical Guide …, 13th edition (London, 1820). The electrode positions and voltages used are not that far off from early modern use.

    Then you can go to the pacemaker of Dr. Albert Hyman , patented 1933, Paul Zoll’s 1951 PM-65, and Earl Bakken’s late-1957 external pacemaker. (Bakken’s pacemaker was made by request of Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, who wanted something battery-operated after a PM-65 failed during a power outage.) And then there are the internal pacemakers, both before and after Bakken’s external.

    Which date should a date-noter note? You could go as early as 1820, or as late as 1957, or dates between. As Brian says: the exactly-whens don’t matter nearly as much as the great step forward.

  • Mr Ed

    I have not had a TV for around 8 years, saving me or costing the BBC c. £1,100. I do not miss TV. A greater advance for civilisation would be the abolition of the TV licence. Still how about a camouflaged TV that could appear to be, say, a Venetian blind when inspectors call? That would be subversive.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Mr Ed

    The point of this is not “TV”, i.e. the Mass Media C20 version of it, even if I personally do love this. The point is, it’s a “screen”, and in the posting, I talk about how it might make mobile computers more powerful and effective and easy to use. As does the second of the videos I linked to. The British TV licensing system may be your point, which is fine. But it is not relevant to my point. I’m not saying you can’t change the subject, merely saying that you have.

    Presumably you do use quite big not-“TV” screens from time to time. Perhaps you are even reading this on such a screen.

  • Sam Duncan

    I remember either Samsung or LG demonstrating a roll-up display about ten years ago. Heck, I remember Nokia predicting one almost twenty years ago. You still can’t buy ’em.

    Then again, flat screens were just around the corner for decades until suddenly they were the only kind you could get.

    It’s a good point about dates. And the same goes for people. Being British, I know that John Logie Baird invented television. Ah, smartarses have told me all my life, but he didn’t invent the system we use; that was Farnsworth. Except that he didn’t invent the system we use either. We no longer have CRTs, electron guns, camera tubes, or even (basic) AM modulation of an analogue signal. PAL and NTSC, while still just about hanging on, are almost as obsolete today as the Nipkow disc was in 1936. Frankly, I think this strengthens Baird’s claim, since he was unquestionably the first to transmit pictures over the air, and I hope he takes a firmer place in history from now on. But it does illustrate the “Who, when?” problem rather well.

    “Please spare me the anti-CD comments. I like them.”

    They’re still the cheapest way to buy uncompressed digital audio. And you get a free hardcopy backup. With no DRM. CDs are awesome.

  • Mr Ed


    You may note that I have indicated that the technology might lead to ‘stealth’ TV, a ruse to escape the Sauron-esque gaze of the BBC and its outsourced inspectors. As it is, when you buy a TV in the UK, you used to be required to provide your address so that the seller can inform on you to the licensing ‘authorities’, this law was only scrapped on 25th June 2013.

    One practical application of this screen technology that springs to mind is to install some form of screens on the A-pillars of cars so that the driver can, with camera assistance, ‘see through’ the increasingly thick A-pillar and see otherwise hidden traffic approaching from c. 40 and 320 degrees to the driver’s forward vision, rather than be unsighted by a ‘safety’ feature.

    I don’t use any big screens, but if I did, I would say that this is great news, and for the free world outside the UK and Crown Dependencies, even better.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    I believe that your proper response to any complaints about CD’s should be the last 10 words of the response to Mr. Arkel’s solicitors from the solicitors for Pressdram Ltd:

    “The nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.”

    And you even get to use the royal ‘we’!

  • Paul Marks

    I am sure that this technological advance will be very nice for some people.

    Like Mr Ed I tend to think politically (for example resenting the idea of paying the BBC money for their leftist propaganda) rather than in terms of new technology – but I am sure that Brian has a good point about how having this sort of thing would improve the enjoyment of some people and, therefore, is a good thing.

    Still it is irritating that we are no longer allowed to watch Fox News in this country – whether on a conventional television set, or a “roll up” one.

    Perhaps what one is allowed to watch is just as important as what one watches it on.

  • Roué le Jour

    Flexible and irregularly shaped displays will find many applications, but roll up TVs will fare about as well as “3D” TVs.

  • Tedd

    Yet another sad example of Kodak’s decline. They were neck-deep in a project to produce a product like this when I worked for them over ten years ago. The project was canceled as part of a cost reduction program.