Samsung Declares Price War: Curved 55" OLED for $8999 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 04:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Today Samsung announced the immediate availability of its first OLED offering, the 55" KN55S9C. The new curved panel HDTV will ship with a MSRP of $8999, a full $6000 less than the debut price of LG's 55-inch curved OLED, the 55EA9800.


Samsung's new OLED HDTV, the KN55S9C. Is this curved OLED HDTV "what's next"?

The aggressive price cut amounts to a declaration of price war by Samsung in the OLED segment. The company claims that improved panel manufacturing yields account for the price drop. The question is whether OLED can possibly catch up to LCD-based UHDTV panels that cost less, come in larger sizes, and feature quadruple the pixel count.

The company had promised to reveal "what's next in home entertainment," but with the growing popularity of UHD I'm left wondering if that is an accurate statement. In the same room I also saw Samsung's latest UHDTVs—the first time I've had a chance to directly compare the two—and I left the event more impressed than ever by how good LED backlit and even edge lit LCD panels look. That's not what I had hoped for—I wanted OLED's picture quality to blow me away. Instead, I couldn't help but think that the curved screen was more of a gimmick than anything—and in some ways, detrimental.


A reflected light appears as a streak across the screen, on a flat screen it would just be a spot.

The new KN55S9C did manage to impress me, in the same manner that a very expensive dram of Scotch impresses me. I can appreciate the exquisite nature of the product, but the small size and high price are too much of a barrier to adoption. The feature Samsung chose to highlight—a sort of dual-view that uses active glasses to show two programs on the same screen—made me wonder how many people would willingly wear active shutter glasses (i.e. 3D glasses) in order utilize the feature. It's amazing to me how 3D itself is no longer a selling point, but then again autostereoscopic UHDTV is right around the corner.

On the flip-side the dual-view demo revealed exactly how capable OLED technology is; because with active-shutter glasses on, the image still looked remarkably bright. Apparently full-HD 3D is possible, even in dual-view mode. That hints at extremely fast pixel response times, to match the panel's native 240Hz refresh rate. From a pure performance perspective, OLED does impress. I wanted that technical superiority to translate to the real world.


Dual-view made for good demo, and a cool-looking GIF.

Instead, it was the Samsung UN65F9000 UHDTV that had my jaw on the floor. LCD-based UHDTV looks sharper, more detailed, and flat-out better than 1080p OLED HDTV, even from a significant distance. The video playing on the F9000 had that tangible 3D look to it—despite being 2D footage— image detail that seemed endless, and the blacks were very deep.


Perhaps Samsung should not have brought the S9 UHDTV to this particular event.

By contrast, the 1080p 55" OLED panels didn't look razor sharp until I was standing more than ten feet away—from a 55" curved screen. Problematic, considering the recommended viewing distance—accounting for the curve— is between six and ten feet. At this point I'm spoiled by UHD resolution and there is no way I can "un-see" the difference. In my view, the new OLED panels are already obsolete.


Is a curvy screen really the main selling feature for OLED HDTVs?
There's that pesky streaking effect again.

The curved form factor is OLED's calling card in 2013; in the U.S., both Samsung and LG are strictly selling OLED in that configuration. Although novel, it is not a feature that ought to command a premium, as it offered no advantage that I could ascertain in terms of the viewing experience. The curved OLED sets actually require a fair bit of space behind them, which is clearly visible in the following photo. I also noted that the new Samsung OLED TV uses an external video processor—the company reps were not able to tell me if the same unit runs the UHD panels.


Here's a peek behind the panel. Good luck wall-mounting this unit, you'll need a relatively deep shelf.

When you consider the tremendous variety and value available at the 55" screen size, the advantage of an OLED is hard to see, literally and figuratively. I'd guess that OLED panels will perform exceptionally well in tests, reviews and shoot-outs. But that performance comes at a cost, and even if that cost is $6000 less than most people thought it would be, a $9000 55" HDTV still represents a massive pricing premium over other available options.


The event took place at Cipriani on 42nd, in Manhattan.


LG's OLED offering is still listed at $14,999.98 as of 8/13/13

That's my take—I'd love to hear some other opinions.

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post #2 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 04:40 AM
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Mark,

Can you ask about a flat screen version, if there is a Q&A? Apparently, LG already has a flat screen version, for use in U.S. airports- it's all a marketing strategy not to sell it to the general public.
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post #3 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cjvnyc View Post

Mark,

Can you ask about a flat screen version, if there is a Q&A? Apparently, LG already has a flat screen version, for use in U.S. airports- it's all a marketing strategy not to sell it to the general public.

Samsung will not offer a flat OLED in 2013 and did not comment on whether the company will offer one in 2014. Officially, the form factor is the defining attribute of the technology.

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post #4 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 12:51 PM
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Hi, guys. For those that are interested, we (Consumer Reports) just spent a few weeks testing the Samsung OLED TV. Pretty impressive. The review is free, in front of our paywall: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/samsung-oled-tv-review/index.htm. It includes a video of the TV in our labs.

Best, Jim
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post #5 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 02:08 PM
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MSRP of $8,999? Is that all? No thanks.
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post #6 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Samsung will not offer a flat OLED in 2013 and did not comment on whether the company will offer one in 2014. Officially, the form factor is the defining attribute of the technology.

Thank you for asking- $9K for a desktop gaming monitor is a bit steep. Aargh!
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post #7 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 04:21 PM
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I saw the 84" Sammy 4k and it was very impressive although it should be at $40,000. It will be interesting to see the 65" version and compare it with the OLED which I hope to to Friday. The whole idea of a curved OLED makes no sense to me as I have indicated many times previously. In addition to the light streak effect that Mark's pictures depict, I have seen photographs of letterboxed material displayed on the set and the black bars curve with the screen which is really stupid, the opposite curve as those I used to hate on an old CRT. I note that none of the content on display with the OLED today was letterboxed. Gee, I wonder why. While I appreciate new tech, even $9k at these screen sixes ir a waste. Now, it you can show me a 70 inch OLED at $6k, I would have an interest. One that is flat and can be wall mounted.
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post #8 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeNY28 View Post

Hi, guys. For those that are interested, we (Consumer Reports) just spent a few weeks testing the Samsung OLED TV. Pretty impressive. The review is free, in front of our paywall: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/samsung-oled-tv-review/index.htm. It includes a video of the TV in our labs.

Best, Jim

Thanks for posting the free review. Can you comment on how the Samsung might be achieving its motion blur reduction without causing the soap-opera-effect? Sounds like it might be using something besides the frame interpolation found on most LCDs. Did you notice any flicker or loss in brightness when the Automotion feature was activated? That would suggest something similar to backlight scanning/strobing or black-frame-insertion.
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post #9 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeNY28 View Post

Hi, guys. For those that are interested, we (Consumer Reports) just spent a few weeks testing the Samsung OLED TV. Pretty impressive. The review is free, in front of our paywall: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/samsung-oled-tv-review/index.htm. It includes a video of the TV in our labs.

Best, Jim

I was struck by three paragraphs in the review:
Quote:
"If we want to be very picky, the color temperature at the darkest levels was a tad on the cool side, and near-black detail was also a bit too dark at the best black level (brightness) setting. We could raise the brightness level to address the issue, but it would come at the expense of the deep blacks, so we played with different gamma options. Ultimately we put our picture settings back at where we started."

Theoretically, OLEDs have very fast response times, faster than LED LCDs and even plasmas. This should mean that OLEDs, like plasma sets, can handle motion without noticeable blurring. But in our tests with the TV's Automotion feature turned off, motion blur was surprisingly LCD-like: only fair, and greater than what we typically see with plasma TVs. With the Automotion feature activated, the set's motion-blur reduction improved to the level of excellent, with no noticeable over-smoothing (the "soap opera" effect) we see in some LCD TVs that makes film look like video."

"We did see subtle image retention on some of the plasmas in the room in as little as 10 minutes, but it took a full hour before the OLED showed any effects of the test pattern, and even then it was very subtle. As a result, we're cautiously optimistic about OLED burn-in. We'll just have to wait to see if OLED TVs can maintain their image quality over the long term." - Consumer Reports

At that price, for that size screen I'd be more than picky, I'd actually demand perfection—especially in the face of stiff LCD-based UHDTV and plasma competition. I understand it's better than what preceded it in the world of 55" HDTVs, but that benefit only goes up to 1080p resolution.

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post #10 of 53 Old 08-13-2013, 11:12 PM
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Would have thought that they would have performed better with motion.

HD Guru's overview of the LG 55EA9800 also reported motion resolution similar to an LCD set, and they speculated that the OLED may have been using sample-and-hold. Kind of disappointing for such an "ultimate" display tech.
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post #11 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 05:39 AM
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Instead, it was the Samsung UN65F9000 UHDTV that had my jaw on the floor. LCD-based UHDTV looks sharper, more detailed, and flat-out better than 1080p OLED HDTV, even from a significant distance. The video playing on the F9000 had that tangible 3D look to it—despite being 2D footage— image detail that seemed endless, and the blacks were very deep.

I've read many self professed experts on this forum claim UHD is a waste of time since human eyes are incapable of seeing anything over 1080p unless we stand right next to the screen. What you stated is impossible. It must be all in your head and unless you do a double blind test, everything you saw is tainted with expectations.wink.gif
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post #12 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 05:54 AM
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They had the set on WCBS this morning, and their repoprter suggested the curve was to allow for better multi-view. Seriously.
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post #13 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 06:04 AM
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The difference between a 4K display and a 1080P display IS noticeable. BUT...

I personally will not trade all other aspects of picture quality (black level,motion resolution, off angle viewing,etc.) Just for a higher pixel count. As in, unless the screen is over 65" and available for the same value I will keep my Panasonic ST60 plasma!!!!

LCD still has a ways to go in most area's of PQ in my opinion.
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post #14 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 06:12 AM
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And yeah, this curved panel stuff is pure nonsense!
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post #15 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wattheF View Post

The difference between a 4K display and a 1080P display IS noticeable. BUT...

I personally will not trade all other aspects of picture quality (black level,motion resolution, off angle viewing,etc.) Just for a higher pixel count. As in, unless the screen is over 65" and available for the same value, I will keep my Panasonic ST60 plasma!!!!

LCD still has a ways to go in most area's of PQ in my opinion.

Not the LCD UHDTVs in that room.

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post #16 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Not the LCD UHDTVs in that room.

Ok, that may be true (I will believe it when I see it) but notice "value" is the key word in my qoute. Let's see how quickly these prices drop. Once they do, I'm on board.
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post #17 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 06:59 AM
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The term is UHD not 4K biggrin.gif this ought to kill LG's sales. Why didn't they make the OLED's UHD?
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post #18 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 07:24 AM
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Sorry, yesterday got a bit hectic after we published. I'm heading back into the lab to check out a few more things with Automotion; I actually didn't understand why it would be needed, given OLED's theoretically super-fast response times (supposed 1,000 times faster than LCD). I'll also check for indications (brightness reduction, flickers) that black-frame insertion is being utilized. Since OLED is an emissive technology, backlight scanning/flashing isn't in the picture. I'll let you know what I find.--Jim
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post #19 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic 

Not the LCD UHDTVs in that room.
You mentioned the UN65F9000 Edge Lit UHD (''that had my jaw on the floor'') and the S9 UHD (''perhaps Samsung should not have brought the S9 UHDTV to this particular event''). The S9 - UN85S9 UHD FALD? How do the curved OLED and the S9 UHDTV compare?
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post #20 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 08:28 AM
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Why didn't they make the OLED's UHD?

A good question. I thought that higher resolutions was one of OLED's selling points?
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post #21 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 08:36 AM
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You said "In the same room I also saw Samsung's latest UHDTVs—the first time I've had a chance to directly compare the two—and I left the event more impressed than ever by how good LED backlit LCD panels look." We know the S9 is backlit, to which you included a brief photo + caption, but you seemed to compare the OLED in your above statement to the UN65F9000. Isn't the UN65F9000 edge-lit?

Thanks for showing the flaw exposed with streaked light reflections. That's a pretty serious issue to me (aside from the fact you can't wall mount it and my opinion its kinda silly).
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post #22 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 08:54 AM
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Wow, at that price they should be able to sell all of the hundreds of displays they can build. Call me when FLAT 4K OLED 65" and up, becomes available at that price.
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post #23 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sippelmc View Post

You said "In the same room I also saw Samsung's latest UHDTVs—the first time I've had a chance to directly compare the two—and I left the event more impressed than ever by how good LED backlit LCD panels look." We know the S9 is backlit, to which you included a brief photo + caption, but you seemed to compare the OLED in your above statement to the UN65F9000. Isn't the UN65F9000 edge-lit?

Thanks for showing the flaw exposed with streaked light reflections. That's a pretty serious issue to me (aside from the fact you can't wall mount it and my opinion its kinda silly).

You are correct about the UN65F9000 being edge lit. I edited the piece to make it clear both UHDTVs impressed me, the big guy and the more affordable UHD contender.

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post #24 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 08:58 AM
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More pixels or better black? I think this review shows that the PQ of the backlite LED is already very good that OLED only trumps marginally. In showroom environment, I think most people will not see the benefits that OLED offers. However, people always buy things with the bigger number so 4K or UHD is a better selling point than OLED at this stage.
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post #25 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

A good question. I thought that higher resolutions was one of OLED's selling points?



That's what you would think. Maybe it has something to do with the technology and they couldn't do UHD with OLED? I'm glad I'm not seriously looking to buy a new panel, too many different technologies and standards to choose from. I'll wait at least a year to see where all this goes. What I really want is UHD OLED, but there's no way I'm paying upwards of 10 grand for a 60" panel. So I'll wait it out with my nearly 3 year old LG panel.
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post #26 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:23 AM
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Curved?!? Is this a TV or a fashion statement? Can't wait to see how circles look on a curved surface.
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post #27 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:29 AM
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i think it was an interesting comment to say OLED's are already obsolete because they are 1080p. in that same frame of thought, i've been thinking the current UHD models were already obsolete because they rely on terrible backlighting. i've had edgelit LED LCD's before. it's not easy to make them look acceptable, let alone reference quality.

i've bought my brand new plasma this year. and i have no expectation to SHOP let alone buy a tv until we have affordable OLED UHDTV's with available content. and even then, will it be worth it for an auxiallary display? because i highly doubt it'll replace my projector.

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post #28 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:41 AM
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Who said they were obsolete? I think they've been working on OLED so long that UHD never came into the equation. I also want UHD OLED. But until the price drops, there's more content and OLED proves itself as far as longevity goes I won't touch one.
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post #29 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeNY28 View Post

Sorry, yesterday got a bit hectic after we published. I'm heading back into the lab to check out a few more things with Automotion; I actually didn't understand why it would be needed, given OLED's theoretically super-fast response times (supposed 1,000 times faster than LCD). I'll also check for indications (brightness reduction, flickers) that black-frame insertion is being utilized. Since OLED is an emissive technology, backlight scanning/flashing isn't in the picture. I'll let you know what I find.--Jim

OLED is a sample-and-hold display like LCD. Even with an infinitely fast response time, it will still show blurring due to eye tracking. There's only 2 ways to combat this:

1) Reset the eye via dark periods inserted between frames (using scanning refresh or black/dark frame insertion as examples). Downside here is usually a loss in brightness and/or flicker.
2) Motion interpolation to insert frames that match where the eye tracking is expecting moving objects to be. Downside here is the soap-opera-effect on low frame-rate content like movies.

Some of the smaller OLED's refresh their pixels in a scanning fashion so that some portion of the screen remains dark. This can be seen in this high speed video of a 25" Sony OLED:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTfvwOGu4EI

We have an entire thread devoted to the blur topic here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1433254/lcd-motion-blur-eye-tracking-now-dominant-cause-of-motion-blur-not-pixel-persistence


I have a couple more questions for you regarding the Samsung. The 55" LG OLED was recently tested in this review: http://hdguru.com/lg-55ea9800-oled-hdtv-reviewed/

It was shown to have many dead or stuck pixels when displaying full fields of black or other colors. Can you check if the Samsung OLED has any dead pixels?

I'm also interested if the Samsung has any color uniformity problems similar to the vertical streaks seen in the LG review. Do you notice any dirty-screen-effect on scenes that pan the camera across skies, fields, or other static areas?

Thanks.

-Mark
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post #30 of 53 Old 08-14-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeNY28 View Post

Hi, guys. For those that are interested, we (Consumer Reports) just spent a few weeks testing the Samsung OLED TV. Pretty impressive. The review is free, in front of our paywall: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/samsung-oled-tv-review/index.htm. It includes a video of the TV in our labs.

Best, Jim

I was struck by three paragraphs in the review:
Quote:
"If we want to be very picky, the color temperature at the darkest levels was a tad on the cool side, and near-black detail was also a bit too dark at the best black level (brightness) setting. We could raise the brightness level to address the issue, but it would come at the expense of the deep blacks, so we played with different gamma options. Ultimately we put our picture settings back at where we started."

Theoretically, OLEDs have very fast response times, faster than LED LCDs and even plasmas. This should mean that OLEDs, like plasma sets, can handle motion without noticeable blurring. But in our tests with the TV's Automotion feature turned off, motion blur was surprisingly LCD-like: only fair, and greater than what we typically see with plasma TVs. With the Automotion feature activated, the set's motion-blur reduction improved to the level of excellent, with no noticeable over-smoothing (the "soap opera" effect) we see in some LCD TVs that makes film look like video."

"We did see subtle image retention on some of the plasmas in the room in as little as 10 minutes, but it took a full hour before the OLED showed any effects of the test pattern, and even then it was very subtle. As a result, we're cautiously optimistic about OLED burn-in. We'll just have to wait to see if OLED TVs can maintain their image quality over the long term." - Consumer Reports

At that price, for that size screen I'd be more than picky, I'd actually demand perfection—especially in the face of stiff LCD-based UHDTV and plasma competition. I understand it's better than what preceded it in the world of 55" HDTVs, but that benefit only goes up to 1080p resolution.

its no surprise that the chepaer edge lit Samsung would crush blacks with how it handles its dimming. I suspect the LG won't have that issue being that its backlit.
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