Would it even be a tech tradeshow without a new throne? 2020 brought us the scorpion chair, 2019 gave us the “fully-immersive” toilet, and attempts to encase gamers in their own PCs have been a thing as long as I’ve been on the beat. But LG Display has a new, more elegant take on the idea: a rotating curved 55-inch OLED TV attached to a reclining slice of chair that positions you at the sweet spot of those pixels.
Like most of LG Display’s ideas, the “Media Chair” is a concept, not a product — at least for now. LG Display tells us it’s actually working with an unnamed Korean massage chair company to bring it to market someday. “It’s being commercialized by them, they’re going to sell it,” spokesperson Matthew Weigand tells The Verge.
But while there aren’t integrated robotic massagers quite yet, the concept does have a lot of vibration going on — speakers in the chair, and a speaker in the form of the OLED panel itself, thanks to LG Display’s Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO) tech that vibrates the screen to produce audio. (We’ve covered that tech since 2017 for TVs and phones, and it also appeared in LG Display’s concept screen that bends from curved to flat last year.)
As for the TV, it’s a 55-inch OLED panel with a 1500R curve, which offers the “perfect focal distance away from a person so they can get an optimal viewing experience,” says Weigand. (We haven’t seen it for ourselves yet.) It can also rotate between portrait and landscape modes; you press a button on the touchscreen control panel on the right armrest to do so. Since it’s attached to the chair’s frame, the TV also stays in your sightline as you recline the entire chair.
I don’t think there’s any question that such a thing would be far, far out of my price range, though there’s always a chance that some of the concept’s benefits might trickle down someday. After all, LG’s consumer-grade OLED sets have recently come down below the $1,000 mark, and while remarkably expensive, its eye-popping rollable display concepts did finally make their way into a $100,000 TV that even managed to arrive stateside this past year.
The Media Chair isn’t the only concept LG Display is showing off at CES: it’s also got the “Virtual Ride,” which uses three 55-inch curved 4K OLED screens to create a single giant wrap-overhead display to theoretically feel like you’re cycling outdoors. In addition to being a showpiece, LG Display is also pitching it as a potential alternative to VR headsets, though obviously it’d be a little more convincing if it had some 3D depth. Or perhaps additional screens that wrap around the sides, instead of just vertically.
What might impress you is the curve: the top screen has one portion that curves to a radius of just 500 millimeters (500R), which LG Display says is the tightest bend we’ve seen from a large display. For context, the 49-inch Samsung Odyssey G9 monitor I reviewed last year has a 1000R curve, and that was the state of the art.
What I hope we get out of this is more curved screens, to be honest. While a curved TV might be a mistake for a household, particularly in a bright room, I wound up wishing LG offered a curved OLED gaming monitor when I reviewed its 48-inch TV earlier this month, just for productivity’s sake. Done properly, that’s something I could see paying for, unlike a TV throne for one or a cycling station.