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The four-letter word that all the tech giants are talking about: OLED

Why your next TV might not have speakers

CNBC's Arjun Kharpal

A four-letter word is dominating tech gadgets this year – and the result is TVs so thin they don't even need speakers.

Sony announced a new TV on Wednesday featuring OLED – short for organic light-emitting diodes. Unlike LCD screens, these screens have blacker blacks and are flexible, allowing curved displays, said Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony during a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The super thin Sony Bravia's screen lets it forgo a stand, instead getting propped up much like a picture frame. The Bravia OLED's slim profile is helped by the fact that instead of speakers, it creates sound through vibrations that come directly off the screen.

The TV shows how Sony has flourished amid questions about its relevance in a changing marketplace, Hirai said at CES, an annual technology trade show in Las Vegas.

With the Bravia OLED, Sony joined Samsung and LG, who have long dominated the OLED industry thanks to early bets on the technology.

Not to be outdone, LG and Samsung announced their own "picture on the wall" TVs on Wednesday.

Samsung focused on QLED, also known as "quantum dot" display, which reduces glare and has consistent color, the company said. LG, meanwhile, boasted displays that offer one billion possible colors.

The goal of these displays is to strip away everything "to emphasize the beauty of the screen alone," LG said in a statement.

LG said the OLED screen "invites the illusion of gazing out a window, not of watching TV."

"Whenver you see, touch, or interact with our products, we want to stimulate an emotional result," Sony's Hirai said. "It happens when it creates objects of desire."