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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. (KSC:005930) and LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570)  -- the first and second place display sellers worldwide, according to Display Search'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, finally shipping 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 curved OLED
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. (BBYin July, 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 [source] 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 trickled down 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.

Source: The Verge



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By shmmy on 8/13/2013 9:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
The TV's main point is that its Curved OLED. 4K is just a bonus much like the 3D TV nonsense a few years ago. I know a few people with high end TV's (Samsung 9000 and 55D8000) and neither of them use 3D on a regular basis, if at all. Simple fact though is that the 3D TVs still look better then most 2D TVs, due to the upgraded parts manufacturers put inside them. 4K is similar. You get a great 1080P TV and later you can use 4k if needed. The people buying this stuff piss away thousands of dollars on stuff all the time so price is not relevant at this bracket.

I know there are many cable companies around the US. I have Verizon Fios and I know for a fact they dont even broadcast at 1080P. 1080P has been around for a long time now. I have little hope of them broadcasting 4k any time soon. If so it will be very limited since the broadcasters have almost no reason to do so. When HD came out it gave them a chance to get a new sponsor "HD brought to you by x company" Well with 4k they dont really get a new sponsor since they already probably have an HD sponsor. So really 4k would just be a very expensive tech demo that a company like Sony would have to "donate" equipment for.

As a PC display it would be pretty sweet though! :D




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