LG announced Monday it was ready to begin shipping the first OLED television with super-sharp 4K resolution available to consumers. TV manufacturers such as LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066575) and the Panasonic Corp. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) canceled their production of plasma screens in the past year, and the search for a successor to liquid-crystal displays with better brightness and contrast has dragged on for years.
Manufacturers have so far struggled to mass-produce at a premium price the organic light-emitting diode panels, which display more realistic colors than do standard LCDs. For good measure, LG said its 4K OLED TVs, available in in 65- (65EC9700) and 77-inch (77EG9700) sizes, will feature curved panels, following the flashy, if dubious, industry trend, on which CNet has reported.
So what’s all the fuss about OLED? Because each tiny pixel on the display gives off its own light, the display can offer much more accurate colors and much deeper “black levels.” LCDs need to be backlit by flourescent bulbs or LEDs, which can cause a washed-out or gray appearance in dark scenes.
LG said its first 4K, or ultra high-definition, OLED TV has 33 million subpixels. While 4K (4096 x 2160) technically refers to a higher resolution than does UHD (3840 x 2160), manufacturers now commonly equate the two terms. LG said the TVs will be available for preordering in South Korea within the next week, with North America “to follow.”
LG’s 4K OLED models come with a built-in, so-called ultra surround sound system designed by the Harman Kardon unit of Harman International Industries Inc. (NYSE:HAR). LG Home Entertainment’s president and CEO, Hyun-hwoi Ha, said in a statement that OLED is the next “evolutionary” step in display technology.
“OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years, and no company is better prepared for this than LG,” Ha said. “OLED’s benefits are obvious. There’s no deterioration in picture quality and issues such as image blurring, distortion and color leakage in curved LED units are simply nonexistent on curved OLED TVs.