One of the biggest reasons I don’t have a wall mount for my TV is because I don’t want to deal with installation chaos. The dust, the potholes, the permanence—it all makes me nervous (I know, I know, I’m more sensitive than most people). So when I heard that the Displace Wireless TV could be attached to any wall or surface without a stand, I was really excited. This is a 55-inch 4K OLED display that uses active ring vacuum technology to suction itself into place, and the company has installed handles in the frame to make lifting easier. 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 them to recharge before you can watch TV again.
Since the first prototypes we saw in Vegas were built specifically for CES, the company says that details about battery size and charging time aren’t available yet. But they said they could expect users to get a month’s worth of playtime if they watched six hours of TV a day. Part of the reason Displace can do without the power cord is because it doesn’t do very heavy processing on board. It basically streams media from a base station that comes with the device and performs the rendering.
My favorite thing about Displace TV is the ease of setup. I wasn’t allowed to try it myself because the prototypes were rather precious, so I could only watch as the company’s CEO stuck his hands into the slots and lifted the screen. According to Displace, each unit weighs less than 20 pounds, and is impressively light.
The CEO took the TV to the window, and when the vacuum rings at the back detected it was in contact with a surface, the mechanism spun to life and began sucking itself onto the glass. After about 8 seconds, it quieted down, indicating that it had attached itself and was secure. I was then able to try rocking the unit and see if I could get it to slide out. I didn’t try too hard, because I was afraid of damaging the prototype, but I will say that the screen seemed securely attached. I’d say I used the equivalent force of opening a fridge door to try and pull the suction off and it didn’t happen.
To disconnect the TV, you must press and hold a button on both sides, and wait for the vacuum rings to slowly separate. The company said this mechanism works with any flat surface—even a slight texture like drywall. We tried placing the demo unit on another wall, but couldn’t find a spot wide enough to accommodate the 55-inch panel.
Displace TV also has a 4K pop-up camera built into the top of the bezel, and it not only facilitates HD video calls. The company’s custom software that powers the TV also allows for some gesture control, which is the only way to interact with the TV since there’s no separate remote control. For example, raising your palm while playing will pause your view, while using two hands to mimic a stretching action can make items on the screen zoom in and out. If you have several Displace TVs, you can arrange four of them in a square and zoom in on the feed from a specific quarter, for example.
There is also a file Minority Report-esque A gesture that involves “grabbing” content from one screen and “throwing it” on another nearby screen. And if you point the thumbs up at the camera, it activates a mode that follows your content as you walk around your house in different rooms. Since they’re all streaming from the same base station, multiple monitors can pick up your content from where you left it in a different room.
If you’re feeling daunted, you can put four Displace TVs together to create a 110-inch 8K TV. In this scenario, the relatively thin bezels here can help reduce blur when running four monitors as one. But Displace told Engadget it’s also working on future models that could be bezel-less to remove borders entirely. The company also has several plans, including exploring potential partnerships to build in some form of wireless charging, as well as launching an API to allow third-party developers to create apps for the devices.
For now, though, I really like and want this concept. However, at $3,000, Displace TV is somewhat pricey. Only 100 units are available for pre-order right now, and the company said it will start shipping in December. I’m dying to get one and see how the vacuum system holds up over time—the last thing I want is to wake up to a $3,000 TV crash breaking my furniture, hopes, and dreams.
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