Vibrating Screen Creates ‘5.1’ Sound

LG has demonstrated what it calls the first TV set to offer 5.1 audio without any speakers. It comes with a vibrating screen and an eyewatering price tag.

The idea of the screen itself producing the sound is not new. Sony already offers it in one model, while LG has used the technology on both a smartphone and a bendable 48-inch panel.

The LG version uses “Cinematic Sound OLED” which involves a thin magnetic film behind the screen. Rapidly switching the magnets on and off causes the screen to vibrate and emit sound.

The difference with the new set is that it doesn’t just do stereo, but rather uses a 5.1 channel system. LG notably uses the term “cinematic level of immersion” rather than the traditional 5.1 phrase “surround sound” though how well it can create that immersive effect when all the sound originates from one direction remains to be seen.

The key to getting the distinct “channels” of sound is likely the screen size: 97 inches. Most viewing calculators don’t cover screens that big, but you’d probably want about 15 feet between you and the screen to get the most out of it. It’s also scheduled to cost around $25,000.

The rich folk with big living rooms will no doubt keep the rest of us up to date on how well the technology works day to day. The problem may be that even if it does live up to the hype, the 5.1 channel element may not work as well when scaled down to smaller screen.

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