OLEDs from Samsung, LG offer new TV technology
Innovation • Models make debut at Electronics Show.
Published: January 11, 2012 10:08AM
Updated: January 12, 2012 08:56PM
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Julie Jacobson | The Associated Press Tim Baxter, president of consumer electronics for Samsung America, introduces the Samsung 55-inch OLED TV during a news conference at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The TV uses uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, instead of plasma or liquid crystals.

Las Vegas • For the first time in years, consumers are about to see an entirely new TV screen technology.

Samsung Electronics is showing off a 55-inch TV at the International Consumer Electronics Show that uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, instead of plasma or liquid crystals.

OLED screens need only a single light-emitting layer, as opposed to the several that LCD TVs require. As a result, OLED TVs can be extremely thin. LG Electronics introduced an OLED TV on Monday that is 4 millimeters —that’s one-sixth of an inch— thick. The picture quality is stunning, too, because OLED TVs can present highly saturated colors and a nearly perfect black.

The screen technology is in use in high-end smartphones, but it has been very difficult to make larger screens with consistent results. In 2007, Sony Corp. started selling an 11-inch OLED TV for about $2,500, but it never followed it up with a bigger model. Since then, LG and Samsung have shown prototype OLED TVs at the annual CES show, but hadn’t revealed any marketing plans until this week.

Samsung and LG haven’t announced a price, but expect the sets to cost more than $5,000 each. It’ll take at least a few years for prices to come down enough for most consumers.

As for availability, LG said fourth quarter of this year, tentatively. Samsung only said “this year.”