OLED TVs Live Up to Hype
The frame around this screen is black, and on another TV would be noticeably darker than the screen. On LG's OLED TV, the two blend together.
CREDIT: Sean Captain
BERLIN It's another abbreviation to tack onto the television acronym soup: OLED HD TV. The new OLED — organic light emitting diode — technology is certainly a way for TV makers to stoke demand and earn more money. But it is a genuine and pronounced improvement on today's LCDs and plasma TVs — as we saw with new 55-inch models from LG and Samsung at the IFA tech conference in Berlin.
OLED addresses one of the chief obsessions with videophiles — black, or rather the lack of it. No video screen is actually ever black, except when turned off. In LCDs, a little bit of the backlight leaks through. In plasmas, there is always a bit of charge in each pixel.
In OLED, a pixel is either on or off, period. If something black is in the video, it's black in that part of the screen, because the pixels simply aren't turned on. That's more than a theoretical benefit. True black means more contrast, which means more detail and depth in the image.
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The question for OLED is: When will we be able to get it? Kenneth Hong, LG's director of global communications, said that the 55-inch OLED TVs will go on sale by the end of the year in LG's native Korea and one other big market — either Europe or the US, with whatever region is left out this year to follow soon in 2013.
LG hasn't announced a price, but Hong said he expects the TV to be under $10,000 — not exactly an impulse buy. Prices are high, he said, because factories still aren't running at full capacity.
"It's not going to be a high-quantity product this year or even next year," Hong told TechNewsDaily. "It will take two years."