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I just tried LG's $100,000 rollable OLED TV — here's what it's like

LG Rollable TV R
(Image credit: LG)

This week I visited the LG Exploratorium, a state-of-the-art space filled with all sorts of interactive tech experiences located in the company’s New Jersey campus. On display, and the real reason for my drop-in at the Exploratorium, was the LG Signature OLED R. You might know it better as the $100,000 magical rolling TV.

Tom’s Guide has seen versions of this supple set before, most recently during CES 2019. But this is the first time I witnessed it in action, and among the first times the LG Signature OLED R has been demonstrated as a completed product available to purchase. 

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Who exactly is willing to spend six figures on a TV still remains to be seen. When I told her what the TV does and how much it costs, my mom suggested J.Lo might want one. I reckoned Richard Branson can buy about two rolling OLEDs for everyone one person that buys a ticket for Virgin Atlantic's space flight. 

Don't get me wrong. If I had that kind of money laying around, I would absolutely invest in the LG Signature OLED R. I don't think I'd ever get tired of watching the 65-inch screen roll right out of thin air, just with the press of a button. If you've ever thought of your TV as an eyesore, this set gives you the option to just tuck it away.

At first, I felt hesitant to hold the TV's remote and commandeer the roll control. But after a few unfurls, I fell into a rhythm. 

LG Signature OLED R: What do you get for $100,000?

Neither flexible OLED displays nor motorized lifting TVs are a new thing, but LG's OLED R rolls into a compact compartment that’s made to look like decor I'd actually want in my home. The compartment also packs a virtual Dolby Atmos sound system, which means you'll be able to save a little dough on a soundbar if the $100,000 set you back too far. Luckily the complete HDMI 2.1 array and latest webOS software don’t cost extra, either. 

Navigating the interface felt familiar, as I tested the LG G1 OLED TV with OLED evo just a few months back. I still prefer the older version of webOS, which let you browse apps without interfering with whatever's currently on. But the LG Signature OLED R's line view — a neat setting in which the display is only uncurling partially to reveal an input tool bar, photo gallery or simple clock — offered redemption.

Although we don't have proprietary lab test results on the rolling OLED, it looked competitive from anecdotal viewing. LG said the performance is similar to latest C-series set, the LG C1 OLED TV. With a retail price of $2,499, the 65-inch C1 OLED is 1/40th the price of the rolling wonder. The picture on the OLED R better be at least as good as the company's most popular set to justify the cost.  

Price jokes aside, I bet you’re wondering about durability. The screen curling and unfurling, again and again, would seemingly stress the glass bonded to the OLED layer. There are several points of failure, between moving parts that stop moving smoothly, or start showing damage from the stresses of daily use. 

However, the OLED R is rated for 100,000 unfurls, which LG estimates is 20 times a day for 20 years. For what it’s worth, I haven’t witnessed myself any reason to be concerned in the latest hands-on session. It rolled smoothly many times, and it was never less astounding to watch. 

LG Signature OLED R: Outlook

For now, the LG signature OLED R is available to order for $100,000. It only comes in the 65-inch version with no promise yet on more sizes. LG wouldn't comment on how many of these TVs it expects to sell either, but did say the rollable OLEDs are being built on an exclusive line with exclusive materials.

For now, it's a revelation to see the cutting-edge technology fully functional. I’m not going to order the LG Signature OLED R (unless someone has $100,000 to loan me, preferably without interest,) but as we’ve observed with flexible phones and even other TV technology that’s now mainstream, it’s expensive at the start until manufacturing becomes more efficient and then, who knows? Maybe us common-folk will all have rolling TVs in our living rooms.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.