With stunning picture quality and ultrathin panels, the OLED TVs trundled out at trade shows by major manufacturers over the past few years have had many salivating. But unless you’re willing to settle for smaller screen sizes, manufacturing hurdles have seen OLED TVs struggle to make the jump to retail stores. That is now about to change with LG announcing its 55-inch OLED TV will be available in South Korea from February, with pricing and availability for other markets to be announced in the coming weeks.
Measuring 4 mm thick and weighing less than 10 kg (22 lb), LG’s 55EM9700 model is an updated version of the OLED TV that turned heads at CES 2012 and earned a “Best of Show” award. Similar to Sharp’s Quattron LCD technology, LG’s OLED TV uses a “Four-Color Pixel” system, but with a white sub-pixel joining the standard red, green and blue (RGB) sub-pixels, rather than the yellow used by Sharp.
LG claims this WRGB setup creates the “perfect color output,” while the company’s Color Refiner enhances tone for more vibrant and natural images. Consumers unimpressed by the contrast levels and limited viewing angles offered by LCD TVs are likely to be more satisfied with the 55EM9700’s “infinite contrast ratio” that LG says provides optimum contrast levels regardless of ambient brightness or viewing angle.
LG will be begin taking orders through its more than 1,400 retail stores in South Korea from January 3, with deliveries beginning in the first week of February. The set won’t be cheap, costing KRW 11 million (approx. US$10,335). But LG says it is prepared to quickly ramp up OLED panel production in an effort to take the lead in the OLED segment, which (along with competition from other manufacturers) will hopefully help bring down prices in the not-too-distant future. Pricing and availability info for other markets will be announced in the coming weeks.