Samsung just took the wraps off its entire 2024 TV lineup, but had a surprise in store for CES 2024. Though the company's microLED TVs haven't earned major headlines in recent years of the annual tech trade show, Samsung showed it's still all-in on the category with a new transparent version of the display.
We've seen transparent TVs before, but this this first time we've seen a transparent microLED display fashioned as a somewhat real-looking TV. If TVs had glass-like, bezel-free designs, I mean. Given, what Samsung brought to CES is a prototype, running a demos of a soccer matches and firework shows with 3D-like overlays. But it's an interesting proof of concept of where the company stands on see-through TVs.
Although a recent report said we won't see microLED sets hit the mainstream until the early 2030s, it's certainly fun to imagine what a transparent one might look like in your living room before then. Essentially, Samsung placed what looked like two clear microLED panels together (reminder: microLED is modular by nature) in an oddly wide presentation, and then ran a more normal-looking TV behind it.
The result, which we got to see in person ahead of the big reveal, is a TV-watching experience with a functional — albeit, somewhat kitschy — depth effect. That's not to say it didn't look cool, I just think the image running behind the transparent display distracted from the effect. I needed to stand dead-on with the installation for a harmonious picture.
As for how it compares to Samsung's existing microLEDs you can actually buy (though they're quite expensive compared to the best TVs) , the color reproduction on the transparent version was more vibrant than you'd expect, while the animations looked sharp.
I imagine, ultimately, a TV like this would look epic at the base of a bed or up against a window, letting you use a TV while also being able to see through to your environment. Such an experience that would be costly, of course.
Samsung hasn't indicated any sort of timeline on the availability of a transparent microLED TV. Again, what I saw is just a prototype. If you recall, the first prototype of Samsung microLED (more casually known as The Wall) came long before it took the form of something someone could put in their home.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.