The long-awaited UHD/4K OLED TVs from LG are finally poised to enter the flat-panel market. Gentlemen, open your checkbooks!
LG Electronics announced today that its highly anticipated UHD/4K OLED TVs will soon be available to purchase. Available in screen sizes of 65 and 77 inches, the 65EC9700 and 77EG9700 combine UHD resolution (3840x2160) with OLED emissive display technology. This offers clear advantages over LCD transmissive technology, as demonstrated by the recent Value Electronics flat-panel shootout, in which LG's new 55-inch 55EC9300 OLED tied for first place in the popular vote with the Samsung PN65F8500 plasma, another emissive display. The calibrators unanimously chose the 55-inch Samsung KN55S9C OLED as their favorite display in the shootout, leaving all the UHD/4K LCD TVs in the dust, even with their higher resolution and much-larger screens.
As you might expect, both of the new LG OLED TVs are curved, which is certainly not popular among AVS members, but the curve is more gentle than that used by Samsung, and the new models can be wall-mounted. Another differentiating factor is that LG uses white, red, green, and blue (WRGB) subpixels with color filters in its OLEDs, while Samsung uses red, green, and blue subpixels without color filters. The relative merits of each approach can be debated all day, but at the VE shootout, the LG was judged to have a wider viewing angle, better blacks and contrast, and better picture quality in high ambient light, while the Samsung had better color accuracy, gamma tracking, and motion resolution. (The F8500 plasma trounced both OLEDs in color accuracy and motion resolution.)
Of course, such comparisons are more or less moot at this point, since Samsung seems to have backed away from developing new OLED TVs, while LG is forging ahead at full speed. Do the new models improve on the 55EC9300's color accuracy and motion resolution? The only way to know is to see for ourselves, and that opportunity will soon present itself as they enter the market. Pre-orders will begin in Korea this week, and LG is firm in its commitment to bring these sets to the US before the end of the year.
Precise availability and pricing have not yet been officially announced, but according to a story at Mashable.com
, the 65-inch model will start shipping in Korea, Europe, and North America next month, with the 77-incher becoming available later in the year. Also reported in that story is the list price of the 65EC9700, at least in Korea—12 million won, or $11,769 at today's exchange rate. That's a lot of dough, and the 77EG9700 is bound to be several times that amount, but given that the new 55EC9300 lists for "only" $3500, I have high hopes that prices for the larger sets will drop over time.
So, are you ready to take the UHD/4K OLED plunge? Or are you going to wait for prices to come down, screens to flatten, and certain picture-quality issues to be improved before opening your checkbook?
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