OLED Begins

Organic Light-Emitting Diode televisions have been perpetually on the horizon for what seems like forever. I remember first writing about the technology when I was at Home Theater magazine, which was multiple jobs ago (and, by the transitive properties, my current one as well).

Like any new technology, these TVs are expensive, but will they be worth it?

LG 55EA9800

The curved 55EA9800 from LG is $15,000, exactly the same price as the first plasma TVs (which were smaller, lower resolution and way worse looking).

The biggest difference between the 55EA9800 and the Samsung OLED is how it creates light. LG’s calling their method “4 Color Pixel” which is, semantically, not really true. All other flat panel TVs (except some Sharp models), have pixels made up of 3 subpixels: red, green, and blue. With these three primary colors, you can create all the colors possible in the TV system.

Each pixel in the 55EA9800 is made up of 4 subpixels: red, green, blue, and “white.” Instead of separate red, green, and blue phosphors, LG uses a multi-colored OLED “sandwich” that looks white. Then, using color filters (like an LCD), you get your three primary colors. The extra “white” subpixel is really just clear, showing this OLED sandwich. Presumably, this is to boost light output. There are pros and cons with this method (and the traditional RGB OLED method) which we’ll discuss as we get more hands-on with the new products.

Samsung KN55S9C

Shocking even the jaded tech press corps, the KN55S9C is $9,000. Like the LG, it’s 55-inches and curved. The design of the frame is a little different, as is the technology. Where the LG uses “white” OLED, the Samsung uses red, green, and blue sub-pixels (like a traditional TV).

Check out a full rundown of the specifics at our sister site, or, here’s a quick video starring our very own Rob Sabin.

Bottom Line

Rob, Al, and I have had a chance to look at the Samsung. Tom Norton will be checking on the LG soon. We’ve got full reviews planned on this incredible new tech, and I’m putting together a sneak peek for next week. Stay tuned!