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  (Source: LG Electronics)
South Korean firm beats Samsung to market, fulfills long-standing promise

With a five-figure price point, LG Electronics, Inc.'s (KSC:066570) latest television set is a bold gamble, testing whether a recovering consumer electronics market is willing to pay an extreme premium for the best technology.

I. Meet the First Big OLED TV

LG has enjoyed a relatively good track record in the LCD television market and looks to leverage its reputation for reliability with a $10,300 USD 55-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) set, which just went on sale this week.

The new set is a mere 4 millimeters thin and features LG's new SmartTV technology and on-board Wi-Fi.  A "Magic Remote" is included with purchase.

The release marks the realization of a long standing promise -- Samsung and LG had been showing off OLED prototypes at trade shows since at least 2008.
LG OLED TV

The move is somewhat of a surprise given the unicorn-like status of commercially available large OLED TV sets in recent years.  For example, Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502) had vowed in 2009 to release a 30+ inch OLED model, only to abruptly bail on the launch and OLED efforts in general.

OLED TVs are more power efficient than traditional LCD TVs, but that's somewhat a moot point given that they cost nearly twice as much as their LCD brethren.  More relevantly, OLED sets feature much more vivid and accurate color reproduction than LCD models.  For consumers obsessed with picture quality, OLEDs deliver a clear edge over their less expensive predecessors.

But some are not convinced that the advantage will be enough to convince consumers to pony up $10.3K for the LG set.  Comments Seo Won Seok, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities in Seoul, to Bloomberg, "The key issue here is how LG could possibly narrow the price gap between the new OLED TVs and the conventional LCD TVs.  The price for OLED TVs should come down to about $5,000 to $7,000 to open up the initial market, which is expected about late this year at the earliest."

II. LG Gets a Head Start

For better or worse, LG seems committed to testing the waters and Samsung will likely follow close behind.  Samsung had previously committed to selling OLED sets before the end of 2012, but on Dec. 21 backed off those claims, punting its launch to sometime in 2013.  Samsung cited weak demand and high prices as reasons for the delay.

LG shares rose on the launch of the OLED model.  Despite skepticism regarding sales in the short term, investors appear to view LG's head-start on Samsung in this growing sector as a good thing.  Market research firm IHS Inc.'s (IHS) ISuppli unit labels the OLED sector as the fasting growing part of the $100B USD TV industry.  It predicts that sales will rise from 34,000 units in 2012 to 2.1m units by 2015.  Given continued process improvements OLED panels are predicted by some analysts to be cheaper than LCD units by 2016.

OLED TV shipments
OLED TV shipments are predicted to rise to to 2.1m units in 2015. [Image Source: iSuppli]

In an email LG boasted to Bloomberg, "LG is prepared to ramp up quickly to take the lead in the OLED segment."

Samsung TV
LG's new set gives it a head start on rival Samsung Display [Image Source: Flickr]
 
Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) was the first to sell an OLED TV debuting the 11-inch XEL-1 in Japan for roughly $2,000 USD back in 2007.  Sold exclusively in Japan and at low volume, the tiny, expensive set was viewed as somewhat of a flop.  Sony eventually pulled the plug on XEL-1 sales in 2010.  Regardless, Sony continued to pour money into its OLED offerings.

Struggling with profitability, Sony latest move was to partner with domestic display rival Panasonic Corp. (TYO:6752).  The pair will look to produce technology for new OLED display sets to be launched sometime in 2013 or 2014.

Sources: LG Electronics, Bloomberg



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RE: Fit it
By hubb1e on 1/2/2013 6:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
You don't need a VESA mount to hang a picture on the wall do you? These sets will be thin enough to hang like a picture on the wall. And OLED is inherently flexible so don't worry too much about stiffness.


RE: Fit it
By mcnabney on 1/3/2013 10:16:19 AM , Rating: 3
The electronic circuit boards in these things AREN'T flexible. There is a reason that displays have rigid frames solidly attached to their VESA mounts.


RE: Fit it
By messele on 1/7/2013 3:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
What, so like a picture you are supposed to screw an eyelet into the back of your TV where the screw thread is longer than 4mm. That'll look great sticking through the front of the screen...

Silliest thing I've read today and that took some beating.

Some sort of mount is essential and the lack of one is a real handicap. It looks as though all the electronics are fitted in the base so that wont even be removable...


RE: Fit it
By Cincybeck on 1/9/2013 2:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
I apologize for my rudeness, but I don't think I ever read so many.. idiotic.? narrow minded.? past thinking.? post on Dailytech before. Honestly, I'm not even sure what to call these post.

Yes they're making OLED tv's thin, why? because they can. The same way they have showed off OLED displays printed on thin flexible plastic substrates, that can be bent and hit with a hammer without damage.
(Search Youtube for, 'SAMSUNG Flexible AMOLED Display - Hammer Test')

Open your minds, stop looking at what you know, and start imagining what is possible. VESA? a thing of the past, meant for bulky, heavy, LCD TVs (Did you ever think those adjectives would be used to describe LCDs?) New, smaller, more innovative mounting solutions will be thought of, and used.

Oh and you might want to search for Transparent OLED displays while you're at it, because that is possible with this tech as well.


RE: Fit it
By Cincybeck on 1/9/2013 3:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry I think your post is the silliest. Who screws an eyelet into a picture frame let alone a TV? I think most of the world puts a screw or nail into the wall, and uses the built in hook on the frame to secure it to the wall. At 22Lbs it is definitely feasible with drywall anchors(Even a single EZ Ancor supports up to 50lbs)that you could mount this TV like a picture.

Oh, and not sure if it still holds true but this was reported on NBC's website back in July.
"The TV will be available in three mounting versions: table top, wall mount and pole mount. Each configuration incorporates the same OLED panel but a uses a different case. The inputs and drive electronics are located within the stand on the table top model (see photo) and features a transparent arm between the base and panel. The wall mount version and pole mount models will have a separate box that houses the electronics." -nbcnews.com


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