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Large-Screen OLED TV Makes its U.S. Debut

MINNEAPOLIS—The next generation of television displays was introduced to the U.S. market this week as LG Electronics rolled out the nation’s first large-screen OLED TVs at a Best Buy in Minneapolis.

The new 55-inch LG Curved OLED TV is only 0.17 inches (4.3 mm) thin, weighs less than 38 pounds (17.2 kg.) and will retail for $14,999. Best Buy, which is partnering with the South Korean-based consumer electronics giant, will expand retail availability of the set at special “Inside Magnolia” sections in stores in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle and San Antonio in the coming weeks.

OLED (organic light emitting diode) was first developed by Eastman Kodak in the 1980s but its market introduction has been slow due to the high cost of the displays. Sony initially sold small displays in the U.S. several years ago but pulled them from the market soon thereafter. LG began selling sets in Korea three years ago and most consumer electronics manufacturers debuted next generation OLED sets at the International CES in January. Samsung, the world’s largest, is expected to introduce its own 55-inch OLED set in the U.S. also this week, according to CNET. That one is also expected to retail for around $15K.

The LG set features a “gently curved” screen that supports 3D as well as LG’s Smart TV, Magic Remote and Voice Recognition features. It’s also LG’s first OLED TV to achieve THX Display Certification, matching the picture quality of professional post production displays. It delivers an “infinite” contrast ratio for optimal contract levels regardless of ambient brightness or viewing angle, according to LG. The set also features LG’s proprietary WRGB technology, a unique four-color pixel system that features a white sub-pixel that works in conjunction with conventional red, green and blue pixels to enhance color output. An exclusive LG “Color Refiner” adds greater tonal enhancement, resulting in more vibrant and natural colors.

The launch of the new displays coincides with this year’s major push for 4K sets by consumer electronics manufacturers but OLED’s high prices are expected to stunt their adoption initially. However, global demand for OLED TVs is expected to grow to more than 7 million units by 2016 according to DisplaySearch. While the prices for 4K sets quickly dropped upon their market introduction, it’s unknown how quickly OLED prices will decrease.

Also see...

Sony Demos 56-inch 4K OLED TV
Sony announced it has developed “the first 4K (3840 x 2160) organic light-emitting diode televisions. The electronics giant is displaying its 56-inch prototype at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“OLED TV Trickle Predicted”
NPD Display Search says organic light emitting diode display TV sets will likely be released in “small volumes” by the end of 2012.

“OLED TV: Not Ready for Primetime?”
One of the cutting-edge flatscreen display technologies that has generated considerable interest is OLED, or organic light emitting diode technology.

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.