LG unveils retro-futuristic sound system for CES 2024 that combines vacuum tubes with transparent OLED display

LG DukeBox
(Image credit: LG Labs)

As CES 2024 fast approaches, the hype and intensity is growing exponentially, and LG is stoking the flames with a retro-futuristic concept speaker designed to look as good (and cool) as it sounds. 

Designed by LG Labs, the DukeBox pairs old-timey vacuum tubes as seen on a jukebox with a modern OLED panel for a mixed bag of audio visual wonders. 

Although marketed as a mere smart speaker, the DukeBox is still intended to work like any old display, allowing users to not only watch movies to their heart’s content but also experience less-intrusive visuals when playing music, i.e. a fireplace or album cover. 

There’s no word yet on price or availability, but the DukeBox will be in attendance at CES in Las Vegas alongside several other exciting products under LG Labs, including a capsule coffee machine, CineBeam Qube, Xboom, gram Fold, and much more. 

A jukebox from the future 

LG’s concept smart speaker leverages vacuum tube audio technology, a concept that has lived on jukeboxes dating back to as early as 1890. Thus, LG isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel with its DukeBox, but blending the now over a century old audio technology with a modern touch through the inclusion of an OLED screen

To some, the tech almost sounds like the musicians are literally right in front of you with how clear and punchy vacuum tube audio allows.

Vacuum tube audio is beloved most prominently due to how, when played, music sounds incredibly warm and fuller with instruments getting a more natural oomph. To some, the tech almost sounds like the musicians are literally right in front of you with how clear and punchy vacuum tube audio allows.

In tandem with its vacuum tubes, LG’s DukeBox also has front-facing bottom speakers and 360-degree speakers on top for the ultimate soundscape. The device’s vacuum tubing is also visible through the OLED display via a set level of transparency, which can be adjusted on the fly. 

As mentioned already, the DukeBox isn’t entirely a speaker, as it can be used to watch shows, movies, and assorted content of the like — though it most certainly won't be on the levels of an LG C3

LG itself describes “a cozy fireplace ambiance where the vacuum tube is visible amidst the flickering flames,” as one example of how the screen can be used alongside music for retro-fueled immersion unlike any other. 

Enticing new Lab creations 

The DukeBox isn’t LG’s only wild offering coming to CES 2024 as the company did explain that its Labs booth will be twice as large as last year’s as presented in its press release

Of note is the capsule coffee machine called DUOBO, which LG explains will be capable of brewing two different coffee capsules simultaneously. It was inspired by space exploration, given its capsule-like design, and will be featured at CES via a larger model. 

LG Labs will also have its Bon Voyage trailer at CES, as well. The fully updated and customized living space will be kitted with an electric stove, bed, refrigerator, appliances, and more, allowing users a versatile outdoor experience with additional levels of comfort. 

A veritable slew of other products will be found at the LG Labs exhibit, including the LG gram Fold laptop, CineBeam Qube, LG Xboom, and more. Those in attendance can find all of LG’s awesome gadgets at booth #16008 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

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Ryan Epps
Staff Writer

Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel.