Lei Jun, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Corp, unveiled a transparent TV at the 10th anniversary keynote speech of Xiaomi on August 11, 2020.
The transparent TV is a new type of self-luminous transparent OLED screen TV product. It is the second ultra-high-end product in the Mi TV Master series. On August 16, 2020, the transparent TV officially went on sale. This is the first mass-produced OLED transparent TV in the world.
1. How to Make a TV Transparent
The panel of the transparent TV comes from LGD. As early as 2014, LGD has successfully launched a flexible and transparent 18-inch OLED display panel. It is the first in the world, which is the prototype of LGD transparent TV.
Prior to this, Panasonic, Skyworth, Konka, etc. have also demonstrated similar transparent screens, but none of the technology company has produced transparent TVs in quantity.
At present, there are two types of screen display method widely used in TVs: LCD (liquid crystal) and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), both of which can actually be made transparent, but OLED has the inherent advantages of being a transparent TV because of its self-luminous characteristics.
Because LCD needs backlight to display the image, this also determines that even if LCD is made into a transparent TV, it will appear as a box, which is obviously contrary to the aesthetic pursuit of modern TVs.
In addition, due to the existence of the polarizer, its transparency cannot be made higher, so no matter from the appearance or the display effect, the LCD (liquid crystal) can only be passed off.
So How Did Xiaomi Make the TV Transparent?
First of all, for the opaque components such as the motherboard, power supply board, and audio module, Xiaomi removed these components from the back panel and integrated them into the circular base.
Host structure of transparent TV
At the same time, Xiaomi replaced the TV back panel with transparent glass. First, Let’s understand what the OLED panel is, we can understand it as innumerable small LED lamp beads attached to a substrate, and the frames are displayed by the lighting of these small lamp beads.
At the same time, we made the substrate transparent. When we observe each pixel carefully, we can see, except for the non-transparent parts such as the luminescent material and the wires, the rest is transparent. In this way, the TV panel can pass through a certain proportion of light to achieve a transparent visual effect.
Here, we introduce the common “blinds” in life to facilitate everyone’s understanding. A shutter with a pattern, if the leaf blades are completely closed, you can see the complete picture, but at the same time the scenery behind is completely blocked by the shutter.
But if you unscrew the blinds at an angle, you will find that although the picture on the blades appears to be fragmented, it doesn’t affect the overall look, and you can still clearly identify the pattern content on the blinds. Moreover, the unscrewed shutters make the outdoor scenery through in, the picture and the scenery will be coexist.
This is almost the same as the mechanism of Xiaomi Transparent TV.
As shown in the figure below, this is the pixel structure of an ordinary OLED TV. The bar of red, green, blue and white are pixel bars.
The picture below is the pixel structure of transparent TV produced by Xiaomi. Half of the area is transparent (the gray part), and half is the pixel bar. In this way, the transparency can reach about 40%, and the objects behind the TV can be clearly seen.
2. Performance Advantages of Transparent TV Produced by Xiaomi
In addition to making the TV transparent, Xiaomi also designed an exclusive UI for the transparent TV, removing the pure background part of the original UI, creating a feeling of floating cards.
Moreover, the transparent TV is also equipped with a 120Hz refresh rate and can support MEMC motion compensation. The contrast ratio of screen achieves at 150,000:1. Furthermore, the screen owns a 10bit color depth and a 93% P3 wide color gamut. In addition, The transparent TV is equipped with 2×8W speakers and a large memory and large storage space of 3GB+32GB.
It is worth mentioning that the official publicity that transparent TV produced by Xiaomi is the first transparent OLED TV OBM manufacturer in China. OBM is the abbreviation of OLED Basic Module, which means that TV manufacturers independently complete the entire process of OLED module R&D, design, system testing, and manufacturing.
OBM includes many aspects, such as the surface tempering of the screen. The transparent TV adopts physical tempering, that is, making a whole piece of tempered glass attached to the screen, which improves the resistance of screen to pressure and eliminates the potential safety hazards of broken screens.
Moreover, in the use of screen adhesives, Xiaomi TV uses UV glue for bonding, which further reduces the thickness of the screen, while also improving the bonding accuracy, and the overall look of the screen is further improved.
The Screen Disassembly of the Transparent TV
In addition to the LGD panel of this TV, the rest parts are accomplished by Xiaomi independently, the technical gold content is quite high. It is not difficult to see that the current Xiaomi TV has reached the industry-leading level in terms of technology and production.
The transparent TV uses the latest generation of LGD panels, and the initial cost is relatively high, so only Xiaomi is making the transparent TV.
After a simple investigation, we can see that there are two main suppliers in the transparent OLED market: Samsung and LG, but their products have not been mass-produced. They are mostly used in commodity display cabinets, and the price is more than 11548 dollars .
However, not only does the transparent TV produced by Xiaomi have better performance, but the price is also lower, the price is reduced to about 7240 dollars.
Transparent Display Cabinets for Commercial Use
Although the transparent TV looks full of technology, the price still persuades many users. Some netizens said that there are walls behind the TVs in many homes, what’s the use of opacity? Moreover, ordinary users can’t afford it.
The overall cost is too high, the demand is too little, and it is not profitable. So why exactly did Xiaomi launch this transparent TV? This is mainly to improve brand tonality. Transparent TV can convey a high-end sense of the future to consumers, which can provide a powerful help for brand building.
The pricing of the Transparent TV has broken through the base price, and in the future, it is almost conceivable that it is very likely that this industry will be occupied by Xiaomi in this way.
3. The Influence of the Transparent TV
The emergence of the transparent TV produced by Xiaomi, just like a folding screen mobile phone, let us see a new form of product. Regardless of whether the TV or the mobile phone, the display technology is interoperable, so can we use the technology related to transparent TV on the mobile phone?
In fact, mobile phones with transparent screens existed a long time ago. In November 2009, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness was officially released. It is the first mobile phone with a transparent screen in the world.
However, due to the limited technology at that time, the screen was not as big as the current full-screen mobile phones, so the sense of science fiction was not so strong. However, the present cannot compare with the past, from the transparent TV of Xiaomi, we can see that making mobile phones completely transparent is closer.
Technology has two meanings: one is exploration and the other is practical. Exploring is not necessarily practical, but is a development direction, exploratory products at each stage will always be limited by the technical limitations at the time, but at least one way can be pointed out. Does a transparent screen make sense? Most users don’t see it, but this is the conclusion we reached when we looked at this transparent TV from the perspective of traditional TV. Because there was no such product before, we couldn’t adapt it to a perfect using scenarios, we cannot think about the significance of its future development from the perspective of this product.
Therefore, how to define this transparent TV is very important. The meaning of transparency lies in the future. Considering the decentralization of technology, transparent display technology will no longer be limited to TV, and the TV is only a form in the development of transparent display technology.