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SECTIONS / TVS & LARGE DISPLAY

Samsung To Launch 55" Curved OLED TV By Xmas

By David Richards | Friday | 28/06/2013

Samsung Australia will launch its new super-thin 55" OLED curved TV later in 2013, which allows for multi-viewing, setting itself up for a head-on battle with LG Electronics, which unveiled its rival offering last month in Sydney.

The TV, which is set to retail for around $14,500 in Australia and will be released in the last quarter of 2013, is five times the price of Samsung 65" 8000 Series TV. The company has confirmed an OLED TV will be launched this year. Mass producing OLED displays still faces many challenges, leading to high prices. Analysts are tipping we will not see mass volume similar to LED until 2015/16. 

Research firm Display Search has forecast global industry-wide sales of OLED televisions at 50,000 this year, at 600,000 next year and rapid growth thereafter to reach seven million in 2016.

Analysts said the overnight  rollout essentially is a publicity effort for Samsung, rather an effort to actually sell the TVs. The key will be how quickly companies can mass-produce large OLED sets at a lower cost.

"The technology is still not mature and production cost is extremely high" for large OLED sets, said C.W. Chung, an analyst at Nomura in Seoul.

Samsung accounts for nearly a third of global volume. It aims to maintain its lead using two types of next-generation technologies: organic-light-emitting-diode screens that are lighter and more vivid than conventional liquid-crystal displays, and ultrahigh-definition sets that promise four times the resolution of existing ones.

The 55-inch model has a high-resolution OLED display and its design means the screen is an equal distance from the viewer at all times. 

The concave display of Samsung's new TV gives viewers a sense of being immersed in the images. Samsung claims its 'Timeless Arena' design reduces the chance of images appearing pixelated, too. The screen also supports multi-view, which lets two people watch different things at the same time

Samsung and LG, which are the only TV makers in the world to begin commercial sales of OLED TVs, had promised to launch them in 2012, but delayed the launch to this year. 

The two South Korean TV giants tout OLED, short for organic light-emitting diode, as the next-generation display technology that will eventually replace older displays. 

In addition to curved OLED TVs, Samsung will launch two ultra-HD TVs, with four times the resolution of regular high-definition TVs in time3 for the peak Xmas buying period in Australia. The two new models are tipped to be launched in September.

OLED technology is being touted as the future of consumer electronics displays, offering crisper picture resolution, a faster response time and high contrast images. 

LG, which currently offers both curved and non-curved 55-inch screens, is estimated to have only sold a few hundred screens so far, after starting sales earlier this year.

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