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LG's New OLED TV Is 'Cheapest' Yet

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 21 comments
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Videophiles with a little money to burn now face a difficult choice: Should they buy a 4K TV or an OLED HDTV? LG has announced a $3,500, 55-inch OLED TV available for pre-order at Best Buy. While the price is still too high for an impulse buy, it's less than a quarter of what LG's first 55-inch OLED sold for. And the price is low enough to make it comparable with 4K (aka UHD) LCD sets — helping determine whether shoppers want the highest resolution available or the best screen quality.

OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, is a fascinating technology that's never managed to achieve widespread mainstream appeal. OLED is a thin, fragile, flexible organic material that can display a picture when charged with an electrical current. Supporters love OLED screens for their amazing color, wide viewing angles and ability to achieve essentially absolute black and therefore extremely high contrast. Detractors cite the devices' prohibitive price.

MORE: Are OLED TVs Doomed?

The 55-inch LG Curved OLED TV (55EC9300) is exactly what it sounds like, and will release on Aug. 24. Although only Best Buy is taking pre-orders at the moment, LG assured in a press release that other major retailers will sell the device as well. The TV will also use LG's Smart TV+ webOS interface, letting users stream content from services like Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Thirty-five hundred dollars might seem like a steep asking price, but LG's first 55-inch OLED TV debuted about a year ago and sold for a staggering $15,000. (At this rate, one wonders whether next year's model will cost $805. Probably not.) OLED manufacturing costs have dropped since then, but the jury is still out on whether consumers really want OLED TVs (or curved ones).

Furthermore, consumer-grade OLED TVs still max out at 1080p resolution. As beautiful as the screen may be, users may not want to shell out the cost of a few months' rent or mortgage for something that won't play all the 4K content that's supposed to come out over the next few years. At present, viewers can buy a curved 55-inch Samsung 4K LED TV at Best Buy for $3,300. This essentially gives consumers an apples-to-apples choice between 4K and OLED TVs for the first time.

Either way, interested users can check the TV out at Best Buy, then determine how much a gorgeous screen is worth to them.

Marshall Honorof is a staff writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 2 Hide
    InvalidError , August 11, 2014 8:23 AM
    OLED's mainstream days will come. The road to more cost-efficient manufacturing is just much longer than anyone expected but once we get there, they should become much cheaper than LCDs.
  • 2 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 11, 2014 8:24 AM
    4K TVs are redundant. OLED TVs seem amazing though. Not only is there virtually no 4K content available, but a lot of average joe consumers actually don't even notice the difference between 720p and 1080p to begin with.

    Also, when you think about it, 4K TVs only benefit 4K content (well duh! I know), and that's to be expected, however, OLED benefits ALL content, HD or not. The colours are better, the contrasts, the motion resolution, everything. That means not only your HD super-charged PC will look better, but also your Nintendo 64 or VHS.
  • 4 Hide
    BleedingEdgeTek , August 11, 2014 8:34 AM
    Quote:
    OLED's mainstream days will come. The road to more cost-efficient manufacturing is just much longer than anyone expected but once we get there, they should become much cheaper than LCDs.


    Where do you get that they will eventually cost much less than LCDs?
  • Add your comment Display all 21 comments.
  • -2 Hide
    hannibal , August 11, 2014 9:03 AM
    Well actually they have found out in the tests that 1080p material look better in 4K screens than normal 1080p screens thanks to upscaling. Not as good as pure 4K material, but still better.
    So it is really hard to say if Oled 1080p is better or worse than lcd 4K.
  • 1 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , August 11, 2014 9:05 AM
    I assume because in time, there won't be any LCD's except at pawn shops lol.

    Anyway, I sooo want OLED in all my displays, I wish i had the money for this TV, wish it came in 24in for computer monitors ;;

    OLED is absolutely beautiful, vibrant display with excellent picture quality, but most of all, excellent colours. So far though, IPS LED displays are close, but not quite to OLED.

    But give it time and we'll see OLED enter more markets and price ranges^^
  • 1 Hide
    neon neophyte , August 11, 2014 9:15 AM
    has the problem with burn in been solved with oled?
  • 0 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 11, 2014 10:09 AM
    Quote:
    Well actually they have found out in the tests that 1080p material look better in 4K screens than normal 1080p screens thanks to upscaling. Not as good as pure 4K material, but still better.
    So it is really hard to say if Oled 1080p is better or worse than lcd 4K.


    Well I think that might simply be due to superior upscaling algorithms/better processor used in those specific TVs since they're newer/more expensive. I'm sure new OLED TVs will have great upscalers too, in addition to improving the colours, blacks, contrasts, and motion resolution.
  • -4 Hide
    NightLight , August 11, 2014 10:24 AM
    i just bought a samsung oled 78" 4k 3d tv, so nuts to this article.
  • 1 Hide
    jossrik , August 11, 2014 11:00 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Well actually they have found out in the tests that 1080p material look better in 4K screens than normal 1080p screens thanks to upscaling. Not as good as pure 4K material, but still better.
    So it is really hard to say if Oled 1080p is better or worse than lcd 4K.


    Well I think that might simply be due to superior upscaling algorithms/better processor used in those specific TVs since they're newer/more expensive. I'm sure new OLED TVs will have great upscalers too, in addition to improving the colours, blacks, contrasts, and motion resolution.


    Once you're in 1080p there is no upscaling to 1080p.
  • 2 Hide
    Be0wulf22 , August 11, 2014 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    i just bought a samsung oled 78" 4k 3d tv, so nuts to this article.


    I call BS. What's the model number? I think you mean LED. Big difference between LED and OLED.
  • -1 Hide
    Be0wulf22 , August 11, 2014 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    i just bought a samsung oled 78" 4k 3d tv, so nuts to this article.


    I call BS. What's the model number? I think you mean LED. Big difference between LED and OLED.
  • -1 Hide
    Be0wulf22 , August 11, 2014 11:06 AM
    Quote:
    i just bought a samsung oled 78" 4k 3d tv, so nuts to this article.


    I call BS. What's the model number? I think you mean LED. Big difference between LED and OLED.
  • -1 Hide
    Be0wulf22 , August 11, 2014 11:09 AM
    Quote:
    i just bought a samsung oled 78" 4k 3d tv, so nuts to this article.


    I call BS. What's the model number? I think you mean LED. Big difference between LED and OLED.
  • 4 Hide
    Be0wulf22 , August 11, 2014 11:14 AM
    Quadruple post? wtf? sorry.
  • 0 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 11, 2014 11:33 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Well actually they have found out in the tests that 1080p material look better in 4K screens than normal 1080p screens thanks to upscaling. Not as good as pure 4K material, but still better.
    So it is really hard to say if Oled 1080p is better or worse than lcd 4K.


    Well I think that might simply be due to superior upscaling algorithms/better processor used in those specific TVs since they're newer/more expensive. I'm sure new OLED TVs will have great upscalers too, in addition to improving the colours, blacks, contrasts, and motion resolution.


    Once you're in 1080p there is no upscaling to 1080p.


    I know. We were talking about all content, not just 1080p content, well that is, if his comment was actually in response to my 1st one like I assumed it was :p .

    What I said is that OLED benefits all content, whereas 4K only benefits 4K. Then he basically said "4K benefit 1080p too" as in, 4K has the benefit of upscaling well compared to OLED which 'only' upscales to 1080p.

    I know I'm not that clear but can'T bother to elaborate more than that. Just read the comments lol
  • 1 Hide
    Darkk , August 11, 2014 11:38 AM
    I saw one at Best Buy not too long ago. Very cool but doesn't make sense to have it curved for screens smaller than 60".
  • 0 Hide
    10tacle , August 11, 2014 2:32 PM
    It is time to move beyond 1080p at high level HDTVs. I'm in the market for 4K but am waiting for more 4K TV manufacturers to offer more input options for the PC (display port specifically). As someone who PC games with a 1440p now as well as a 1080p 55" for the PS3 & PS4, it is senseless to buy another large screen 1080p no matter how gorgeous it is (the display quality of my 42" 1080p bedroom plasma blows away the quality of my 55" LED by far, so I'm stranger to high level contrast and color qualities).

    I'm sure there will be a market for OLED, but as 4K continues to drop in price as the market matures, OLED will be more delegated to an extreme niche market. The vast majority of HDTV buyers out there are going to go for the latest and greatest in their next big HDTV purchase, and it's not going to be 1080p with killer display tech. Good luck selling that to the masses.
  • 0 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , August 11, 2014 6:04 PM
    OLED hands down. UHD is a gimmick at screen sizes this small.
  • 0 Hide
    USAFRet , August 11, 2014 6:23 PM
    60" DLP's used to cost $3000. They are not made anymore
    60" LCD's used to cost $3000. Now you can get one for $900
    60" LED's used to cost $3000. Now you can get one for $900

    OLED will come down in price, and there will be some new doodad that costs $3000.
  • 2 Hide
    haftarun8 , August 12, 2014 7:00 AM
    OLED?....YES YES YES!!!!!
    Curved? Just...no...really? Why even....ugh...

    Curving your screen does not make ANY SENSE if the screen doesn't cover a significant amount of multiple viewer's fields of vision, like a 50' movie theater projector screen, or even a 100+" home theater room screen in a basement. It distorts straight lines and even blocks people from watching from side angles, negating one of the key benefits of OLED in the first place. All they're doing is making it harder for people to adopt OLED by not selling a damn flat one. I bought a 46" Sony XBR4 that retailed for $3600 in Jan. 2008. If this TV were out then, I would NOT have purchased it unless it was flat. So stupid...
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