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As a home-theater and 2-channel audio enthusiast, I am always interested in the latest and greatest, and I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Next Big Thing. Right now, that seems to be 4K/UHD. A couple of years ago, it was OLED, which promised to be future of flat-panel displays. However, to see one of these marvels, you had to go to CES, an event that I was unable to attend the last couple of years. While the sets were promised for sale in the US in mid 2012, they never materialized. Bad sign. At CES this year, both LG and Samsung promised sets again this year, but none have yet showed up on these shores.


There have been whispers that the sets were in very limited production due to low yields and manufacturing issues. In fact, many people were starting to describe OLED as vaporware, at least as far as TVs were concerned. However, after CES, LG announced that a limited number of its 55" OLED sets, the 55EM970V, were going to be sold in South Korea and also in Europe through Harrods in London starting in March. As I was scheduled to be in London in July, I would finally have an opportunity to check out one of these sets myself.




When I arrived at Harrods, the sets were displayed rather prominently next to the new Samsung 85" UHD LED-LCD TV. There were two OLED sets on display, back to back. One was running a demo loop while the other was showing the 3D Blu-ray of The Avengers. However, due to the store's bright lighting, both sets were set to full torch mode. I was advised that Cinema and THX modes were available on the sets, but I was not able to get the staff to put them in one of those modes and drop the lights a bit to get a better look.




But even in those conditions, the OLED TVs featured some very deep blacks and bright, bold colors. The sets also seemed to handle motion very well, and off-axis viewing both vertically and horizontally was not an issue. The passive 3D looked good as well, with no evidence of ghosting or crosstalk. (It should be noted that I am not a fan of 3D.)


My initial impressions were very favorable. However, as I looked at the sets a bit more, a few things began to bug me.


The first is the fact that the sets cannot be wall mounted due to the base module, which contains all the inputs and processing functions. That module connects to the panel via one cable. This design has one advantage—it keeps the set incredibly thin, almost razor thin. I was advised that a wall-mountable unit is scheduled to be available later this year, but it will be nowhere near as thin as the 55EM970V. Given LG's history, I won't hold my breath waiting.


The second issue was the price—10,000 pounds. As of this writing, that is about $15,000, which is a ton of money for a 55" screen. Given that the price of the Sony 84" UHD set at Harrods was 25,000 pounds and is available in the US for $25,000, I do not expect the LG OLED to be priced at $15,000 when it is finally introduced in the US. But even at $10,000, it would still be overpriced for what you get.




The last—and biggest—issue I had was burn-in. I was advised that LG insisted that a menu be displayed while the set was on. The menu consists of a set of small squares running vertically down the left side of the screen.




When that menu was removed at my request, rather significant burn-in was clearly visible, especially when that section of the screen was displaying a solid color. However, it was still visible on other types of content, just not as noticeable. After more than 20 minutes, the ghost image did not fade, which leads me to believe that it was permanent burn-in and not temporary image retention.


Whether or not image retention will be a significant issue with this technology is hard for me to say. The sets I observed were clearly being abused—torch mode with the menu on constant display eight hours a day for a couple of months—so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there was some burn-in. However, the extent of the burn-in was surprising nonetheless. I do not know if the set was broken in using color slides or some other method before being put on display, but be forewarned that the potential for burn-in is a real one. I should note that I saw no evidence of burn-in on any part of the screen other than the area containing the menu. For example, the areas where black bars would be seen on 2.35:1 material had no evidence of burn-in at all.


Having two OLED sets on display is one thing; being able to actually buy one and have it delivered to your home is quite another. I was told by two separate salesmen that it takes four weeks from the time you purchase the set through Harrods to the time it is delivered to your home. Four weeks! Now that is very limited production. When I inquired how many had been sold in the store, I was told it was a grand total of four, two of which were ordered by a rather wealthy individual the previous weekend. That means only two were sold since early March. On the plus side, I was advised that both of those sets had been delivered to customers with no complaints since delivery.


As much as I love this stuff, and as much as I was impressed with the blacks on this set, I can't recommend that anyone who does not have the deepest of pockets buy an OLED. Given the potential for burn-in and the uncertainly of just how the OLED material will age, any purchase would be a gamble, one that I am not willing to take.
 

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Strange if they claim that the display have THX mode because THX haven't announced anything regarding the THX OLED standard at all (THX plasma certification goes through a completely different tests parameters from THX LCD certification)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23535254


Strange if they claim that the display have THX mode because THX haven't announced anything regarding the THX OLED standard at all (THX plasma certification goes through a completely different tests parameters from THX LCD certification)

Wow...and I am speechless. How can a manufacture claim something without getting the certification...especially with new technologies.


I guess you would know too hahah
 

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THX - sometimes wonder about their calibrations. Finally got my hands on the THX calibration that was found on some Blu-rays - terrible results! Cannot find anything more up to date to try.

THX - calibrator was here calibrating 3 of my sets, proudly put his THX sticker on them, got paid, left, and when I went to mark down the results, found all 3 sets left in a not so great a video viewing shape! One left Green, one left Golden and the third looking 2D when it was a 3D set!

THX Mode on my sets - was advised by Jim at Lumagen to avoid and calibrate the Expert Modes - so THX designation on any equipment is NOT a precursor for me to purchase the product!
 

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For any calibration you'll need a very good colorimeter and software, THX Optimizer is NOT a replacement for calibration, hence the name "optimizer". The only correct THX Optimizer is the one on THX Calibration Disc


THX Calibrators just like mechanics. There are good ones but there are more bad ones out there.


THX Mode should ONLY be used as an alternative to calibration. It is never meant to be a replacement of calibration or the starting point of calibration.
 

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Looks superb in it's own right.


Although it was in Vivid or Dynamic or whatever it is, The heavy IR is a concern. Or is it burn... We don't know of course... Wonder if this has some sort of pixel shifting technology (orbiter) it should at that price.


Don't think it looks a whole lot better than higher end plasmas of today afaict. But it obviously wasn't calibrated.


I am sure future ones will get better and better.


Look how far plasma came from the first Pioneer model, to the KURO 9G, and Panasonics and Samsung's of today.


Take some time but it will get there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536001


It seems reflections from the screen haven't been solved.


I thought OLED was supposed to improve on this?
 

(???)  How???  Specular reflectance off the facing glass is what it is: reflections off the facing glass.

 

In fact, there's a worse issue as well: even if there were a museum-glass style anti-reflection cover to the thing, light would penetrate and reflect off the black.  I haven't seen this thing in person yet to know how bad it is.  The only thing that would save the day would be a technology that accepts the incoming light and diverts it entirely off to the sides (instead of allowing it straight through, which is what most anti-reflection technolgies do).
 
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Question.

 

JWhip, you make a distinction between Image Retention and Burn in.  There is such a distinction usually colloquially accepted in plasma: and IR can be fixed while BI cannot.

 

Is there any indication at all that there is such a thing as "fixable" Image Retention in OLED?  I would expect not....isn't plasma IR (not burn in) caused by an accumulated electrical charge within the pixel walls affecting further excitation of the plasma?  There is no such affect with LEDS that I can imagine.
 

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Quote:
I do not know if the set was broken in using color slides or some other method before being put on display, but be forwarded that the potential for burn-in is a real one.
The purpose of break-in slides is to age the phosphors to a point of stability so the unit can be calibrated, NOT to prevent burn-in.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu03  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536033


Wonder if this has some sort of pixel shifting technology (orbiter)
Pixel-shifting just moves the image around by a couple of pixels so unless the potential burn-in image is only 2 pixels wide all the pixel shifting does is make the burned-in image fuzzy.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536446

Quote:
I do not know if the set was broken in using color slides or some other method before being put on display, but be forwarded that the potential for burn-in is a real one.
The purpose of break-in slides is to age the phosphors to a point of stability so the unit can be calibrated, NOT to prevent burn-in.
 

Where did you read this?  I can't get the plasmadisplaycoalition website to come up any longer, but I would have sworn they pointed out that the initial even-wearing of plasma cells was what created a resistance to IR and Burn-in!
 

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There's a break-in period on plasmas during which they are more prone to burn-in. Running slides does two things-insures that no image that will cause burn in is on screen during this period, and speeds up the process compared to just watching normal programming. Once broken in, either using slides or by watching a good mix of normal content, resistance to burn in is the same.


That image on the screen on the OLED at Harrod's is not a menu, it's an onscreen promotional display touting the features of the set. Many mfgs. build this into all their sets but you only see it if the set is in "store mode". Not a good thing because it can, as in this case, cause damage to sets subject to burn in, but marketing trumps all.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536709


There's a break-in period on plasmas during which they are more prone to burn-in. Running slides does two things-insures that no image that will cause burn in is on screen during this period, and speeds up the process compared to just watching normal programming. Once broken in, either using slides or by watching a good mix of normal content, resistance to burn in is the same.
 

Interesting subtlety.  I suppose the bottom line is un-broken-in (no matter how) can burn more easily.  BTW, I would never trust "normal watching" to break in plasma cells evenly.  The first thing that would happen is to have the channel's watermark on the corner (or blateny bright white stamp) sit there for an hour at a time.

 
Quote:
That image on the screen on the OLED at Harrod's is not a menu, it's an onscreen promotional display touting the features of the set. Many mfgs. build this into all their sets but you only see it if the set is in "store mode". Not a good thing because it can, as in this case, cause damage to sets subject to burn in, but marketing trumps all.
 

Yep, but I suspect that they probably knew that even if casually left on it would burn, so perhaps they asked that it *always* stay on to mask whatever burn there was?  A screen won't show a burned-in box if the box is always there.  I've been wondering if this was the cause for much of the big delay.  This is really very bad news for LG.  Absolutely no real reviewer will let this go unmentioned.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536709


There's a break-in period on plasmas during which they are more prone to burn-in. Running slides does two things-insures that no image that will cause burn in is on screen during this period, and speeds up the process compared to just watching normal programming. Once broken in, either using slides or by watching a good mix of normal content, resistance to burn in is the same.


That image on the screen on the OLED at Harrod's is not a menu, it's an onscreen promotional display touting the features of the set. Many mfgs. build this into all their sets but you only see it if the set is in "store mode". Not a good thing because it can, as in this case, cause damage to sets subject to burn in, but marketing trumps all.

agree on both points


it is sad that the marketing types insisted on displaying a store mode: this OLED has such a stunning picture it speaks for itself:


now it says... I can burn in
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536807

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536709


There's a break-in period on plasmas during which they are more prone to burn-in. Running slides does two things-insures that no image that will cause burn in is on screen during this period, and speeds up the process compared to just watching normal programming. Once broken in, either using slides or by watching a good mix of normal content, resistance to burn in is the same.


That image on the screen on the OLED at Harrod's is not a menu, it's an onscreen promotional display touting the features of the set. Many mfgs. build this into all their sets but you only see it if the set is in "store mode". Not a good thing because it can, as in this case, cause damage to sets subject to burn in, but marketing trumps all.

agree on both points


it is sad that the marketing types insisted on displaying a store mode: this OLED has such a stunning picture it speaks for itself:


now it says... I can burn in
 

Not if you keep the boxes there.  :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536807


agree on both points


it is sad that the marketing types insisted on displaying a store mode: this OLED has such a stunning picture it speaks for itself:


now it says... I can burn in

I guess stickers weren't an option



I noticed most edge-lit LED's have advertisement stickers in the corners, wonder why they do that...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1481970/oled-in-london#post_23536709


There's a break-in period on plasmas during which they are more prone to burn-in. Running slides does two things-insures that no image that will cause burn in is on screen during this period, and speeds up the process compared to just watching normal programming. Once broken in, either using slides or by watching a good mix of normal content, resistance to burn in is the same.
Plasma phosphors are more "excited" in the first few hundred hours. Running slides accelerates the calming down, getting them to a stable point so calibration can occur. It would follow that IR and BI may be more likely during the excited state but as D-Nice the calibration guru explicitly states in his thread, "This procedure is designed to prepare your display for the reference settings...by aging all pixels equally with the same content. This procedure is NOT designed nor recommended to be used as Break-in, Image Retention and/or Burn-in prevention.'


I wasn't addressing end result in my post so much as intent. Splitting hairs at this point.
 
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