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Key TV Industry Buzzword: OLED

Larger TVs, slimmer TVs, brighter TVs, clearer TVs… every year consumer electronics companies like LG and Samsung promise their new lineup will deliver all of these claims and more. But with new developments in OLED technology, wall-sized super-high-res TVs with better-than-reality picture quality may soon be in your living room.

What is OLED technology? Read more to find out what’s behind it, who the major players are and what it means for you.

Big investments mean big advancements

LG recently announced plans to invest more than $600 million in OLED production (WSJ source), hinting that home OLED TVs will likely hit shelves in the relatively near future. Samsung, Korea’s other major television maker, also has announced it would begin sales of its new smart TVs equipped with OLED technology (Bloomberg source).

Putting the Korean TV makers at a whole other level, Samsung and LG each announced the world’s first curved 55-inch OLED televisions at CES 2013.

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(Curved TVs shown in photo above are by LG)

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(Curved display shown in photo above is by Samsung)

No details on availability yet, but the curved screen is said to be incredibly difficult to create, so bravo Korea on this breakthrough technology! The curved TVs are said to create a more immersive and lifelike viewing experience.

So, what’s all the commotion around OLED? We’re here to help!

What is OLED?

OLED stands for “Organic Light-Emitting Diode” and is praised by tech experts as a vast improvement from past TV technology including plasma and LCD displays. In a nutshell, OLED panels can emit their own light when electric currents are passed through. LCD displays require a separate backlight source. OLEDs don’t need the backlight and therefore can be fitted into incredibly thin TV sets. No wonder LG’s 55-inch OLED TV is only 4mm thin! That is almost half the depth of an iPhone 5!

Plasma TVs also create their own light at the pixel level, but the technology is antiquated, creating far too much heat and requiring far too much electricity. This means they need bulky fans to cool them down and extra electronics to deliver all that power. For consumers, this means plasmas are very thick. You might think of OLED as being evolved from plasmas, rather than LCDs.

For even more technical information, you can read this page.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Might Want an OLED TV

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(Pictured above is a Samsung’s Super OLED TV)

1. Design: Like we mentioned above, because OLEDs do not require backlighting, the TVs can be designed to be exceptionally thin and very very light.

2. Color Accuracy: The OLED technology, using WRGB color pixels, is said to replicate highly colors more naturally and accurately, providing a more realistic viewing experience.

3. No Blur: Thanks to fast response times (1000 times faster than LED TVs), fast-moving images on your TV won’t appear blurry. Whether you are watching an exciting soccer game or intense action movie, the images will appear razor sharp.

4. Eco-friendly: OLED TVs consume less energy than other TVs so if you are concerned for the environment (or your power bill), this might be a plus for you.

5. Wider viewing angle: Ever feel like you can’t see the TV well from your side of the couch or from across the room? Since LCDs work by blocking light, they naturally have viewing obstacles from certain angles. On the other hand, OLEDs produce their own light so they have a wider viewing range. OLED TVs therefore have less distortion from all viewing angles.

How Soon Can You Have One?

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LG announced yesterday that its 55-inch OLED TV will finally be available in the UK in July for a hefty sum of £10,000. It’s the only other market LG has made the OLED TV available besides Korea. Any takers? The 4mm slim TV design and overall picture quality is attractive for sure, but I’m not sure if I want to invest that much for just a TV.

How much would you pay to buy a 55-inch OLED set? Let me know in the comments.

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About the author by Anna C.

Avid fan of all things Korean whether it be technology, design, art or culture. I am always interested in finding and sharing the hottest innovations and trends originating from Korea. In my spare time you’ll find me roaming the streets of Seoul enjoying the beautiful scenes of the city that combines both the traditional and the new.

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