LAS VEGAS - It's relatively easy to be an industry leader when you have the market cornered. At present, LG is the only major TV manufacturer still producing OLED TVs, and it has no plans to stop anytime soon. At CES 2015, LG representatives took to the stage to defend the gorgeous, costly organic material and discuss its place in the future of ultra-high-definition television.
I attended LG's press conference at CES 2015 and got a firsthand look at some of the company's new sets. Although the company's pre-CES briefing contained only one instance of the word "OLED" (and used it as a comparison to promote the comparable Quantum Dot technology in LG's LCD TVs, to boot), the material took center stage at the tech conference.
Tim Alessi, LG's director of new product development, addressed an audience of journalists, analysts and industry insiders on the evolution of TV. He asserted that OLED was as much of a technological jump from LCD screens as LCD screens were from cathode-ray tube sets. OLED produces near-perfect blacks, which Alessi argued are vital for rich, contrasted colors.
As such, LG plans to release five new OLED TV designs in the coming year. Most of them range from 55 to 65 inches, and come in either flat, curved or slim bodies. The pièce de resistance, however, is a 77-inch flexible TV. This set can transition back and forth between a flat and curved conformation. In addition, it provides gorgeous OLED picture quality and LG's redesigned webOS 2.0 interface for its smart features.
Quantum Dot, a rich-color technology for LG, Samsung and Sony LCD TVs, looks quite good, but it's clear that OLED is still in a class by itself. Even so, OLED is expensive and may not be worth the price difference for the average consumer. LG's 2015 lineup may well determine the entire technology's future as a television screen material.