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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 11, 2014

LG Debuts Latest Curved OLED TV in US

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

LG Electronics (News - Alert) is skating around on the bleeding edge of television display technology with the U.S. launch of its next-generation OLED TV, a 55-inch class LG curved model. 

The set will go for $3,499. That’s comparatively expensive considering that the average selling price for a top-of-the-line 4K UltraHD LCD TV is now $1,986, according to NPD DisplaySearch, but the model is priced more than 75 percent lower than LG's first-generation 55-inch class OLED model, which first sold for $14,999 a year ago.

It’s likely that ramping volumes will continue to help pricing fall for the screens, which offer deeper colors than their LCD counterparts. In fact, this marks the third OLED TV that LG has released in 13 months. Best Buy (News - Alert) will be the first dealer to sell the new LG model starting next week, and is taking pre-orders via the Website.

"LG is the only manufacturer to make big screen OLED TV a reality, and we're prepared to help them usher in a new era of TV technology," said Luke Mothschenbacher, merchant director of televisions at Best Buy. "Best Buy is enthusiastic about this OLED TV because LG has combined incredible picture quality with an unparalleled cosmetic design that we know will appeal to our customers."

Plasma screens are falling off rapidly in popularity, while LCD screens continue to dominate the mainstream. Meanwhile, growth in the OLED industry has been slower than expected due to manufacturing costs that are still higher than those for LCD screens—causing most vendors to shy away from further development. According to an NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly OLED Materials Report in April, due to ongoing delays in OLED TV shipments, OLED material revenues are expected to reach just $795 million in 2014, a decline from previous forecasts of just over $1 billion. 

“The OLED material industry and related investors are justifiably worried about where the OLED material market is headed in the near future,” said Jimmy Kim, senior analyst for display materials and LED for NPD DisplaySearch. “If OLED TV shipments increase, the larger average unit area and lower yield rate will increase the overall consumption of raw materials for OLED TV panel manufacturing.”

LG however said that it is committed to the display technology. "OLED TV represents a major breakthrough in display technology. And in the wake of plasma's decline, it's more important than ever to bring OLED to consumers who are looking for the highest level of contrast and color performance," said Dave Vanderwaal, head of marketing at LG Electronics USA. "As the worldwide leader in OLED TV, we're proud to start to bring this amazing technology into the mainstream for U.S. consumers. Due to manufacturing efficiencies, LG's 55-inch curved OLED is now priced comparably to curved LED TVs on the market, but with improved picture quality benefits."

The 55EC9300 is also the first OLED TV to feature LG’s Smart TV+ webOS connected TV platform, which melds access to broadcast TV, streaming services and external devices, with speeds similar to regular channel switching, the vendor said. The webOS platform also includes recommendation capabilities to help consumers sift through content options.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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