Samsung's 55-inch Curved OLED TV Ships for "Only" $9,000
August 13, 2013 1:19 PM
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(Source: OLED Lab)
The set does not have 4K display technology
A curved TV is not for everyone, but two top South Korean electronics conglomerates are betting some customers will shell out a whole lot of cash for a glorified tech demo of the potential of OLED (organic light emitting diodes).
I. Samsung Strikes Back
You may recall that in OLED's infancy, one key selling point bandied about was the ability to make flexible displays. But most early OLED panels were
rigid traditional form factors
-- either acting
as device displays
or as small television sets.
Both Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) and LG Electronics, Inc. (
) -- the first and second place display sellers worldwide,
's March 2013 numbers -- are racing to
ramp up production
of large OLED TVs and they're offering up early product in a unique curved form factor.
Samsung's unit (the KN55S9C)
was late to the game,
this week. Customers can order the set from Samsung.com, which is advisable as some resellers are reportedly tacking on thousands to the price.
Samsung's curved OLED is finally shipping, at a competitive price point.
However, compared to LG's entrant -- which began
shipping in limited quantities in May
-- the Samsung set is a "bargain". A 55-inch OLED panel retails for $8,999.99 USD. By contrast the 55-inch LG set (EA9800) was priced at $14,999.99 USD when it finally hit U.S. retailers such as Best Buy Comp., Inc. (
, having first shipped in limited quantities in South Korea.
“Better than expected yields" allowed Samsung to undercut LG. But is there more to the $6,000 USD price disparity?
II. LG Set is Pricier, but Technologically Superior
There is indeed. The LG set is thinner -- 4.3 mm compared to a "bulky" 12.5 mm for the Samsung set. It's also lighter. Samsung's set weighs 32.8 kg (72.3 lb) versus 17.2 kg (37.9 lb) for the LG set. The LG set's thin and light form factors comes thanks to carbon-fiber body design, but that technology also bumps the unit's price.
LG's set is thinner, lighter, uses less power, and has less parts.
The disparity doesn't stop there. The LG set also boasts a lower TDP (265 watts vs. 295 watts for the Samsung). The LG set also is reportedly a much more optimized design [
] with only about a third as many parts, which could spell trouble for Samsung given its past issues with component failures. About the only win for Samsung is that its display is slightly more sharply curved (4,500R compared to 5,000R).
However, the Samsung set does boast "SmartTV" technology, including a quad-core ARM processor and eye-aware interaction.
Both OLED panels promise vivid colors and brightness, on top of the unique gimmick of the curved shape. A major letdown, though, is the lack of 4K display technology in both units -- the latest in high resolution video/content, which roughly quadruples the screen resolution of the 1920x1080 pixel resolution found in the curved units.
U.S. customers are finally getting their first taste of big-screen OLED and curved display technology, which is
also expected to hit the smartphone market
as early as this holiday season
. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether customers pay substantially (67%) more for the better set (the LG EA9800) or go with the cheaper, but less endowed options (the KN55S9C).
A final note is that the LG unit's prices have
to $13,500 USD in South Korea, and may soon dip to those levels in the U.S. as well. That's just one more factor to consider if you're contemplating this very pricey purchase.
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8/13/2013 1:54:28 PM
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