One of the biggest reasons I don’t have a wall mount for my TV is because I don’t want to deal with the mess of installation. The dust, the drilling, the permanence — all of that gives me stress (I know, I know, I’m more sensitive than most people). So when I heard that the Displace wireless TV can be attached to any wall or surface without a mount, I was very excited. This is a 55-inch 4K OLED screen that uses active-loop vacuum technology to suction itself into place, and the company built handles into the frame to make it easier to hoist. The Displace also has four onboard batteries that eliminate the need for a power cord, and they’re hot swappable so you don’t have to wait for one to recharge before you can watch your TV again.
Because the prototypes we saw in Vegas were custom designed for CES, the company says details about battery size and charge time aren’t available yet. But they did say that they expect users to get a month of runtime if they watch six hours of TV a day. Part of the reason the Displace can do without a power cord is because it doesn’t do very heavy processing onboard. It’s basically streaming media from a base station that comes with the device and performs the rendering.
My favorite thing about the Displace TV is the ease of setup. I wasn’t allowed to try this out myself since the prototypes were fairly precious, so I could only watch as the company’s CEO slid his hands into the two slots and lifted the screen. According to Displace, each unit weighs less than 20 pounds, which is impressively light.
The CEO took the TV over to a window, and when the vacuum loops on the back detected it was in contact with a surface, the mechanism whirred to life and began sucking itself onto the glass. After about 8 seconds, it was quiet, which indicated that it had affixed itself and was secure. I was then able to try jiggling the unit and see if I could pry it out of place. I didn’t try very hard, since I was afraid of damaging the prototype, but I will say the screen seemed pretty securely attached. I’d say I used the equivalent force of opening a refrigerator door to try and get the suction to budge and it did not.
To dismount the TV, you’d have to press and hold a button on either side, and wait for the vacuum loops to slowly disengage. The company said this mechanism works with any flat surface — even if there is some slight texture like drywall. We tried to put the demo unit up on another wall, but couldn’t find a spot wide enough to accommodate the 55-inch panel.
The Displace TV also has a pop-up 4K camera built into the top of the frame, and it doesn’t just facilitate high-res video calls. The company’s custom software powering the TV also allows for some gesture control, which is the only way to interact with the TV as there isn’t a separate remote. For example, holding up your palm during playback will pause your show, while using two hands to mimic a stretching action can zoom in and out of items on the screen. If you have multiple Displace TVs, you can arrange four of them into a square and zoom into the feed from a specific quarter, for example.
There’s also a very Minority Report-esque gesture that involves “grabbing” the content from one screen and “throwing” it at another one nearby. And if you point the thumbs up gesture at the camera, it activates a mode that has your content follow you as you walk around your house into different rooms. Since they’re all streaming from the same base station, the multiple screens can pick up your content where you left it in a different room.
If you’re feeling baller, you can put four Displace TVs together to create a 110-inch 8K TV. In that scenario, the relatively thin bezels here can help minimize disruption when four screens are playing as one. But Displace told Engadget it was also working on future models that could be bezel-less to eliminate the borders altogether. The company also has many plans, including exploring potential partnerships to build in some form of wireless charging, as well as releasing an API to allow third-party developers to create applications for the hardware.
For now, though, I’m already pretty impressed by the concept and want one. At $3,000, though, the Displace TV is fairly pricey. Only 100 units are available for pre-order at the moment, and the company said they’ll start shipping in December. I’m anxious to get one to see how well the vacuum system holds up over time — the last thing I want is to wake up to the crash of a $3,000 TV breaking my furniture, hopes and dreams.
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