What makes OLED different is that the pixels are self-emitting, like Plasma. In other words, OLEDs do not require an extra backlight or edge-light system to produce an image. As a result, these TVs are razor thin (about 4mm), and are very energy efficient. However, LG and Samsung have taken slightly different directions in implementing OLED technology.
The LG 55EM9600 (shown on the left) utilizes a combination of white subpixels and color filters to produce images, while the Samsung KN55ES9000 (shown on the right) actually incorporates true red, green, and blue OLED subpixels.
OLED technology is intended to solve the problems that manufacturer's have been battling with LCD and LED/LCD TVs, such as motion response and black level issues. The sets are rated to last about 30,000 hours. However, in the past, there have been issues with the color blue degrading much faster than red or green - according to what I heard, this problem has been solved.
Viewing these TVs in person, they look fantastic, both in style and image quality - Black levels are deep and even, and color is intense (perhaps too intense).
Both LG and Samsung have indicated that these sets really will come to market by the end of 2012. Both TVs have 1080p resolution, and will have Smart TV and 3D functionality upon release. As far as pricing goes, I heard anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, which kind of puts a lot of uncertainly whether OLED will be embraced by consumers, especially when you can easily find a decent performing 50-60 inch Plasma or LCD TV for well under $2,000. More details on features, specs, and pricing will be available later in the year. I just hope that LG and Samsung are really ready, and this does not turn into another false alarm for OLED, which would possibly end OLED for the foreseeable future.
As a final note, the LG 55EM9600 won CNET's Best of Show Award.
OLED wasn't the only TV story at CES 2012 - proceed to the next few pages and check out some other TV innovations that were on display at CES 2012...