Sunday, July 28, 2013

OLED Finally Arrives, But Is The Dream TV Really Worth It?

Forbes - Samsung and LG wowed visitors to January’s Consumer Electronics Show with prototypes of a new kind of flat-panel television using OLED technology. OLEDs, which also power the screens in Samsung’s Galaxy S4 phones, promise unprecedented contrast and thinness in TVs — and the demos didn’t disappoint. The lack of shipping products, however, did. The TVs were first shown last year and both Korean electronic giants promised to ship within months. Technically, OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, but for the past decade, the “D” might as well have stood for delay. At last, though, 18 months from those demos, LG and Samsung are bringing products to the U.S. They’re strange and extraordinarily expensive, but they’re real.

Once upon a time, it seemed like OLED might be the preeminent flat-panel technology. As early as 2001, Sony SNE -2.4% and Universal Display PANL NaN% were putting out press releases touting joint development plans for large-screen OLED televisions. It would be a couple of years before mass production of large-size LCD TVs became possible and the hype was always that OLED was that much better and imminent. But “imminent” — like those announcements from last year’s CES — never arrived because OLED never had the manufacturing breakthrough that LCD did. And it still hasn’t, which is why the 55-inch models LG and Samsung sets will be available for a breathtaking $15,000 — literally 6 times as expensive as a top-of-the-line LCD of the same size.   Read More