Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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A few points.
Nobody would invest the billions in any new technology just to market to the upper 1% or 10% of the market. I think Samsung and LG both expect the cost of manufacture of OLED sets to be lower than the equivalent LCD set. Not today or tomorrow, but in a few years. If they achieve that, then it doesn't matter if OLED retains some weakness of LCD, provided it isn't really obvious to the majority of viewers, as long as the cost of a low end OLED panel is lower than the cost of an equivalent LCD panel, it will sell more units. Price rules. Obviously, that isn't the only consideration. If the lifespan of OLED panels were perceived to be unusually short for example, then that could cause J6P to avoid OLED unless cost were significantly lower than LCD. I'm not saying OLED will ever get there or that it will have no weaknesses.
Burn-in with plasma may not be an actual concern (I bought one in the last few months and certainly haven't worried about it), but the perception is certainly a concern. As long a J6P thinks his set might burn-in in a couple of years, he'll rethink his purchase. He may educate himself and buy one anyway, but he may just say to hell with it and buy an lcd for about the same price after looking at one and deciding he can live with the contrast or off-axis problem.
If I were a manufacturer, I'd be more concerned about an issue like burn-in than off axis or contrast. Burn-in is a demon down the road, and you can't tell just by looking at a set in the showroom how bad it might be if you buy one. OTOH, off-axis and contrast can both be demonstrated while you are in the showroom, and you can decide if you can live with it or not.
As has been said here many times, the real money to be made is not in sales to videophiles, it's in sales to the rest of the buying public, and provided the picture is decent, the average consumer cares about cost and reliability more than contrast or off-axis. Especially contrast, since most sets don't get viewed in really low light situations where you can even tell.
OLED is an active display and burn-in is a consideration with crt, plasma, and it will be with any LED based tech, or any tech where the light from an individual pixel is generated at the pixel itself and the technology shows some kind of output decay with time (which is all of them so far as I know). The only active tech that comes to mind where it doesn't come into play would be scanning laser, but I don't think we are likely to see scanning laser flat panels hanging on walls in the near future. Lots of consumers still consider burn-in an issue on plasma where the lifespan is 100k hours. For me, until shown otherwise, I would consider it a bigger risk on OLED where the lifespan is currently around 20k hours, or at least that is the number I see thrown around.