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Are Samsung & LG Following Sony's OLED Example?

By Tony Ibrahim | Tuesday | 04/09/2012

Anyone who has seen an OLED television face-to-face would have fallen subject to the technology's charm. Somehow they deliver brighter pictures with enhanced clarity and an uninterrupted 178 degree viewing angle in a body no thicker than just 4mm.

They've been the talk of trade shows, irrespective of whether they carry a Sony, LG or Samsung badge; however, this titillation hasn't been enough to see them abandon the exhibition floors for shop shelves.

Click to enlarge
Samsung's Super OLED

Samsung and LG headed a particularly aggressive OLED campaign at this year's CES. Each company showcased their own 55 inch iteration: Samsung was armed with Super OLED while LG added an extra white subpixel to form WRGB. Passer-by's would stop in their tracks to gaze at the two on offer, and no matter which one they preferred, either way they'd end up with a stunning new technology.

A few months on and OLED seems to be up in the air. LG was supposed to launch an OLED TV months ago, while Samsung's "second half of 2012" promise is running out of time. Meanwhile Sony has forged an alliance with Panasonic to work on OLED technology in 2013. 


But the biggest sign can be seen at the current IFA show in Berlin, where LG, Sony and Toshiba have all unveiled 4K television. It appears instead of ironing out the manufacturing difficulties associated with OLED, they'd rather lure audiences away from cinemas and into living rooms by cramming more pixels into the common television.

Sony's 84" 4K TV

The Verge journalist Vlad Savov describes OLED as "controlled self-destruction" because each OLED pixel burns when a current passes through it. As a result, it's difficult to produce OLED TVs that can maintain their stunning picture quality and, coupled with the high number of manufacturing errors, are but two reasons why manufacturers are having a tough time releasing OLED TVs to the public. Let's not forget the price tag, which is expected to nudge 5 figures.

Before you swoon over 4K, be warned these televisions are expected to cost even more and are disadvantaged by a serious lack of content with roughly 75 4K films available to the public.

Then there's always the possibility 4K could go the way of OLED…

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