The future of high-definition television is finally here. The introduction of consumer OLED HDTVs was "just around the corner" for so long, some A/V enthusiasts began to doubt the futuristic flat panels would ever appear on store shelves. The wait is finally over, as the very first curved OLED HDTVs from LG arrived at Best Buy's flagship Magnolia location in Richfield, Minn. and Samsung's curved OLED entry is expected, literally any day now.LG and Samsung are both offering curved OLED HDTVs for sale in the USA
One model—the LG 55EA9800—is available immediately for the paltry sum of $14,999, at the Richfield Magnolia location. That signals the official debut for U.S. sales of OLED HDTVs, with availability expanding to Best Buy Magnolia stores in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and San Antonio in coming weeks.
"The curved design is intended to provide a more immersive experience for viewers, though $14,999 is a bit too steep any way you look at it. Samsung, meanwhile, has a curved 55-incher of its own -- that OLED screen arrived in Korea late last month, and is rolling out to (very) select US retailers this week, too." - source
The debut of OLED comes exclusively in the form of curved-screen HDTVs. Curved panels are great for an individual sitting rather close to the screen, such as a video game enthusiast—but not quite as ideal for use in a typical home theater, with multiple viewers sitting at a comfortable distance. Will curved screens appeal to serious videophiles? Can these first OLED displays appeal to potential buyers who anxiously awaited their arrival, and believe in the promise of image quality exceeding the best plasma has to offer?
We will find out soon enough, since Samsung announced that they are shipping curved OLED HDTVs to the USA, and Value Electronics of Scarsdale NY expects to be the first store to receive the Samsung KN55S9 55-inch curved OLED—also priced at $14,999—as soon as this week. It won't be long before the first comparisons and reviews are in. I wonder how the legendary Pioneer Kuro will hold up vs. the new OLED kid on the block, which purports to render the deepest blacks of any commercially available flat-panel TV technology.
"The news comes via Value Electronics, a high-end dealer based in Scarsdale, N.Y. CNET spoke with the owner, Robert Zohn, who says his first shipment of two of the new TVs is on its way. He believes he'll be the first U.S. dealer to be able to sell the product." - source
This is an amazing year for home theater enthusiasts. Besides the introduction of numerous LED/LCD-based 2160p UHDTVs, there was the introduction of several new Plasma panels featuring unprecedented performance for the size and price. Now OLED is finally here, and commands the highest premium per inch of any technology, but also promises the highest-fidelity image quality available in a "standard" 1080p HDTV set. Flat versions announced at CES this year will hopefully debut soon; for now, videophiles can rejoice that OLED is finally available in some tangible form aside from a smartphone. The future of flat-panel display technology is looking brighter.
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