Samsung Ships Curved OLED TVs Listed for $9,000

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. — Samsung’s new 55-inch curved OLED TVs are on their way to retailers, according to the Korean electronics maker. The KN55S9C is priced at $8,999—$6,000 less than LG’s version, rolled out at a Minneapolis Best Buy last month. Samsung’s blade-thin curved OLED TV is the second of its type to hit the U.S. market in as many months. Both were announced at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in La Vegas. Sony also demonstrated 56-inch 4K OLED TV at the show.

Samsung says the KN55S9C is the “first” with “multiview capabilities with full HD and stereo sound.” The multiview feature—enabled through the manufacturer’s 3D active shutter glasses—allows for the display of two video streams simultaneously, both in HD or “even in 3D, with corresponding audio and controls.” The KN55S9C also has smart TV capability for displaying IP-based content, and is software upgradeable with Samsung’s Evolution Kit.

Large OLED TVs appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in January after years of development. Organic light-emitting diode display technology is prized for it’s thin form factor and deep blacks. OLEDs comprise a film of organic material that lights up when a current is run through it, eliminating the need for the white backlight that washes out the blacks in other types of displays. It also allows for screens so thin, they can be rolled into a tube.

OLEDs are also said to have higher contrast ratio, better color reproduction and a faster refresh rate than other types of display technology. The 11-inch Sony XEL-1, the first OLED TV introduced in any market, was said to have a contrast ratio of 1,000,000,000:1 and a color range of 105 percent of the NTSC color space. The XEL-1, introduced in 2007, retailed for around $2,500. Production was stopped in mid-2010 due in part to sparse demand. (A search for the XEL-1 indicates few are in circulation. The Sony Store lists one refurbished—though out of stock—for $499.) Sony since turned its attention to the professional video market, breaking out OLED field monitors at the NAB Show in 2010. The vendor teamed up with Panasonic last year to develop large OLED displays.

Other than price, the downside of OLEDs is that they are notoriously difficult to produce, and the screens have a limited lifetime. Gary Arlen quoted a CES official who said the production yield was about one in five. (See “CES: TV Makers Promise Bigger and Better.”) Manufacturers are nonetheless embracing OLED. Panasonic announced in April that it would cease production of plasma displays in order to focus on OLEDs, according to Advanced Television.

The new curve Samsung set got high marks from a Consumer Reportsreview, which referred to the KN55S9C as “the best all-around TV we’ve ever tested, with the highest overall picture-quality scores and no major shortcomings,” save price. The set was originally priced at $13,500 when it was introduced earlier in Korea, the review said.

Also see…
July 23, 2013: “Large-screen OLED TV Makes U.S. Debut”
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.

January 9, 2013: “CES: TV Makers Promise Bigger and Better”
Organic light-emitting diode TV sets are also on display, despite long promises (at least four years) and continuing doubts about the viability of the bright, flat-panel technology.

January 8, 2013:Sony Demos 56-inch 4K OLED TV
Sony announced Tuesday that it has developed “the first 4K (3840 x 2160) organic light-emitting diode televisions.”

November 5, 2012: “OLED TV Trickle Predicted”
OLED TVs are coming… back. NPD Display Search says organic light emitting diode display TV sets will likely be released in “small volumes by the end of this year.” Only around 500 are expected to ship, but NPD is calling the start of shipments an “important breakthrough.”

June 25, 2012:Sony, Panasonic to Jointly Develop OLED Panels
The two companies plan to jointly develop printing method-based next-generation OLED technology, for low-cost mass production of large, high resolution OLED panels and modules and will establish mass-production technology during 2013, by integrating their unique technologies to improve the overall efficiency of development.

February 16, 2011:Sony Debuts 17- and 25-inch OLED Reference Monitors
The new BVM-E 17- and 25-inch OLEDs follow the introduction of a 7-inch OLED reference monitor at last year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

May 27, 2010:Sony Unveils Rollable OLED Display
Sony has revealed the most flexible video display yet. Its new ultra-thin organic light-emitting diode screen can be rolled up like a scroll. Sony released a video of the prototype super-flexible OLED, which it intends to demonstrate today at the Society for Information Display trade show in Seattle.

March 29, 2010:OLED TV—Not Ready for Prime Time?
A typical OLED contains an emissive layer, a conductive layer, a substrate on which the layers are deposited, and positive and negative terminals. The layers are made up of organic molecules with conductivities ranging from conducting to insulating, and they may thus be thought of as organic semiconductors.