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LG has announced a launch window for its 15-inch OLED TV. It will be shipping the set in December.  (Source: Engadget)

Samsung is also hoping for a launch late this year or early next, though no official shipping plans have been announced. It says its 31-inch set is "ready for production". It also has a 14.1-inch set geared for the laptop market  (Source: OLED-Info)
LG, Samsung try to one up competitor Sony

OLED technology has been hailed for a couple years now as the future of digital display.  OLED and its various derivatives have managed to live up to some of this hype in the mobile electronics market, but in the TV and display market they remain a rare and seldom seen species.  In fact, to date only one manufacturer -- Sony -- has launched an OLED TV.  And Sony's 11-inch XEL1 was a wallet-breaker priced at $2,500.

Now LG is set to also jump into the nascent OLED market.  It may also manage to steal the size crown from Sony, unleashing a 15" OLED set onto the market.  The set will begin shipping in December, according to an interview with Won Kim, LG's VP of OLED sales and marketing.

The set is expected to match the capabilities of the prototype unit, first unveiled in January.  The prototype sported a fancy 1,000,000:1 contrast (same as XEL1), a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution (better than XEL1), and a 30,000-hour shelf life (much better than XEL1, which degrades after 1,000 hours).  It is also expected to be ultra-thin (the XEL1 is just 3mm thin).

The set will first launch in LG's home nation -- South Korea.  Then it will slowly make its way to Japan and possibly the U.S., though no official launch date has been aired for these nations.  The price is expected to be very high.  There's also no word yet on the production numbers (Sony's XEL1 production has been relatively low with production, in the thousands).

However, LG isn't the only competitor with OLED launch plans for late this year or early next.  Samsung says it has 14.1" and 31" displays "ready for production".  The displays use a Fine Metal Mask (FMM) technology to achieve larger sizes or better character in smaller displays.

The 14.1" display is aimed at the laptop market and offers 1366x768 resolution, 200cd brightness, color gamut of 107% NTSC and a 1,000,000:1 contrast.  It'd be perfect for pricey high-end laptops like the Voodoo Envy or the MacBook Air as it's only 2.7mm wide and likely will be ridiculously expensive to boot.

The 31" set is set to enter the TV sector and will likely be even more expensive.  Similar to its prototype showcased over a year ago, it is a bit thicker at 8.9mm. It offers an impressive FHD (1920x1080) image, 200cd brightness, color gamut of 107% NTSC and a 1,000,000:1 contrast.

Samsung, however, has offered no clue when the upcoming "production" might start or when it will actually be arriving on the market.  LG may be able to get the jump on Samsung, but look for Samsung to storm in early next year or even surprise with a launch late this year.  Another X-factor is Sony.  Sony has said it also is ready to produce larger sets, and has speculated in the past that it will launch them late this year or early next.  

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Power Consumption?
By Shig on 6/17/2009 9:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
I've been reading a lot about OLED's the past year and one of their key advantages is that they consume a lot less power than a typical LCD.

Anyone have any experience with an XEL from Sony that can comment on how much power it uses to a similar sized LCD?

RE: Power Consumption?
By GreenyMP on 6/17/2009 10:02:03 AM , Rating: 2
I cannot comment on the power consumption, but without knowing what it was, I could tell that the tiny XEL was in its own class from 4 meters. It is sharp and vibrant beyond any LCD I have ever seen. Hopefully the life span issues are worked out. Bring on OLED!

RE: Power Consumption?
By Hiawa23 on 6/17/2009 10:22:32 AM , Rating: 3
I am fine with LCD but from what i have read about OLED, they have alot of advantages, & the most important to many in these economic times is price which it is not.

RE: Power Consumption?
By amanojaku on 6/17/2009 10:57:47 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, the OLED prices are too high, poor economy or otherwise. My TV is on the fritz, so I'm making a compromise. LCD TV with (O?)LED backlight from Samsung. I'm going to BestBuy today to take a look before I make my decision. I haven't felt this giddy since I landed a date with an actress! The actress was great for bragging rights, but the TV is a better deal in the long run. Even my crappy TV is less flaky. ;-)

RE: Power Consumption?
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2009 11:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
62" LED DLP ;)

RE: Power Consumption?
By zshift on 6/17/2009 1:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
KK, lemme explain the difference. OLED is a technology where each individual pixel provides its own lighting, providing extremely vibrant colors and sky high contrast ratios. LED backlighting uses RGB LED backlights to shine as much pure white light out through the pixels to produce amazing color. the LED backlit TVs are thinner because they don't require anywhere near as much power as a standard CCFL backlit lcd, so the power circuitry is greatly reduced. But yeah, those samsung LED backlit TVs are kickass. they are only 3-5mm thick and range from 30" all the way up to +50". prices are high, but they drop EVERY WEEK, so if you can hold out, keep doing so as ive never seen a new technology drop in price so fast.

BTW, I work at Best Buy, so i get to see these everyday. this is the only tv ive seen where people take a step back and just gawk at the tv:the colors, the 120Hz refresh rate, and especially because of how thin it is. Hope this helps!

RE: Power Consumption?
By Davelo on 6/17/2009 3:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
But what about the rest of us who are not so freak out about thinness (and don't want to have to pay for it)? Can we also have LED LCD TV?

RE: Power Consumption?
By Alexvrb on 6/19/2009 1:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
Follow Fit's recommendation in this case. Get a good DLP, potentially one with LED backlighting, but even without, DLPs are nice.

RE: Power Consumption?
By geddarkstorm on 6/17/2009 4:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, life span is the only thing that gives me pause. Even these new ones in this article have only a 3 year life span. That isn't so great, especially with their price, I wouldn't want to buy one every three years or so.

None the less, I'm willing to bet the life span issue will be basically resolved by this time next year (or at least around double what it is now). I love OLEDs, and once they are cheap enough, I'm totally getting one.

RE: Power Consumption?
By therealnickdanger on 6/17/2009 10:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
Considering how tiny the XEL is, there isn't much to compete in the first place. I can't believe the XEL isn't even 720p... pretty worthless IMO. I mean, it looks sexy, but a total gimmick.

I'm excited to see where OLED will go, but until they can exceed the PRO-151FD in performance while undercutting its price, I won't be switching up any time soon.

RE: Power Consumption?
By Brimstone11 on 6/17/2009 6:26:16 PM , Rating: 2
30 inch and higher OLED TVs consume 2 to 3 times more power than LCD.

The XEL-1 which is only 11 inches and has less than a 720p resolution consumes 30 watts.

Of course OLED technology is improving all the time. But so are other technologies like Plasma which is getting better power efficentcy and darker black levels.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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