TCL just showed off the future of OLED TV, and it folds

TCL's prototype OLED turns into a coffee table, but the really clever bit is how it's made

TCL Inkjet Oled press image
(Image credit: TCL)

The best OLED TVs in the future could turn into coffee tables. Or at least, that's one possible future shown off by TCL in its latest concept, which is a 65-inch OLED TV that folds down when you're not watching it. But while a table-turned-TV is a fun thing to look at (and I've embedded HDTVTest's video of it below), what's really interesting isn't what TCL has done with its panel. It's how it made it.

The panel here is the world's first folding 65-inch 8K OLED TV made with inkjet printing, and that printing could be a really big deal for the OLED TVs of the future. 

Why the TVs of the future will be printed on inkjets

TLC has been talking about inkjet-printed OLEDs for a few years now and showed a non-folding prototype at this year's CES

What's so exciting about this particular panel isn't that it folds, as fun as that is. It's that it's enormous. So far inkjet-printed OLEDs have tended to be half the size of this panel, so a 65-inch 8K OLED is quite literally a very big deal. 

The process is less wasteful than traditional OLED TV manufacturing, results in fewer defective panels and is much more precise too. In the long run that means it'll be cheaper; in the short term prices will be higher because of the cost of new manufacturing equipment, but once that cost has been recovered it should send OLED TV prices dramatically downwards. In other words, cheaper, better OLED TVs aren't far away.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (