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Robert Silva

OLED TVs May Be Delayed Until 2013

By October 20, 2012

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There has been a lot of fanfare that LG and Samsung would bring 55-inch OLED TVs to store shelves sometime in 2012. However, it now looks like both TV makers may delay their product releases on a mass scale until sometime in 2013.

Although this is disappointing, frankly, I am not surprised. While in recent years, OLED TV prototypes have been spotlighted at trade shows, no significant products have made it to market, and the ones that made it were relegated to small screen sizes with exorbitant prices. On the other hand, OLED screen are being produced affordably for small screen display devices, such as smartphones and tablets, but the quest for successful production of large OLED screens required for TVs has been elusive.

This past year there was some real hope that LG and Samsung had broken the large screen OLED TV curse with an impressive display of their 55-inch OLED TV pre-production models as CES. However, just as in the past, it looks like LG and Samsung may have been premature in their promise of delivering OLED TVs to the marketplace in timely fashion. On the other hand, this delay may give the recently announced Panasonic-Sony OLED TV partnership some time to catch up.

I have to say that OLED TVs produce the best quality image in terms of color and black levels over any LCD or Plasma set I have seen, and are almost paper-thin to boot.

However, even with it cutting-edge picture quality, the question remains, even when OLED TVs eventually reach store shelves, will consumers even care. Most TV viewers are happy with current LCD and Plasma TV technology, and with an increasing number of manufacturers jumping on the 4K (Ultra HD) bandwagon using LCD technology (including LG, Sony, and Toshiba), will OLED even be able compete in such an already overcrowded marketplace? Unless consumers can actually see an OLED TV in a store and buy it at an affordable price, it may end up becoming merely an engineering statement in a museum somewhere.

For more details on the status of OLED TVs, read the reports from What HiFi?.

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