LG is launching a 55 inch OLED television with a screen described as “the thickness of three credit cards.” However, the launch appears to be as much about beating rivals to the punch as a serious commercial proposition.
The screens will cost 11 million won, which is equivalent to just over US$10,000. It’s probably going to be another couple of years until the sets become more affordable, so for the meantime, it’ll largely be a case of bragging rights for LG over Samsung, which is also working on a giant OLED TV.
The big difference with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) compared with standard LED, LCD, or plasma sets, is that there’s no need for additional backlighting. That cuts power consumption as well as making the screens thinner and lighter. The 55 inch model weighs just 16 pounds, which means that it might even be attractive to a couple of long-armed burglars.
The lack of backlighting also means it’s possible to display “black” images that are so black, they’d raise philosophical questions for Spinal Tap. In turn that means higher contrast ratios in the picture. The screens also have a 180 degree viewing angle.
Although the set offers 3D, it’s “only” got a 1080p resolution so won’t support the recently demonstrated “Ultra HD” or “4K” format. Of course, that’s not an issue to immediate buyers as there’s no sign yet of movie releases or broadcasts with that higher resolution.
One market research firm predicts there’ll be 7.2 million OLED televisions sold in 2016.
Not everyone is excited though. One Debbie Downer blogger thinks that when you combine screens of this quality and size with the output of the next generation of games consoles, the pictures on violent games will be so much more “realistic” that it will give added ammunition to those campaigning against gaming.