According to a new report from market research firm NPD DisplaySearch, we'll see the first OLED TVs arrive toward the end of this year as promised. But they'll be in very limited supply and cost about $10,000 for a 55-inch model.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs combine some of the best elements of plasma and LCD TVs—they're ultra thin like LCD TVs, for example, but have plasma-like viewing angles and they generate their own light, so they don't need a separate backlight. They were one of the highlights of the Consumer Electronics Show back in January. Both LG Electronics and Samsung showed prototypes, and Sony offered a smaller-size OLED TV back in 2008.
While OLED screens are now commonly used in smaller devices, such as cell phones, DisplaySearch says that companies still face a number of manufacturing challenges making OLED panels in larger TV sizes. As a result, OLED TVs will likely be available only in small numbers by the end of this year. In fact, NPD DisplaySearch predicts that only 500 of these sets will be available in 2012, mostly in the U.S. and Europe.
Due to the low volumes, the sets will also be pricey—about $10,000, according to NPD DisplaySearch predictions. While expensive, that price is still about half of what new "ultra high-definition" TVs—which have higher 4K x 2K resolutions—are currently selling for, although the UHD sets are being offered in larger 84-inch screen sizes by both LG and Sony.
But DisplaySearch believes that OLED production will ramp up over the next several years, as Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese panel manufacturers begin OLED production. By 2014, the company says, more than one million OLED sets will be shipped.
Given the high prices, it's unlikely that many of us will be in the market for either an OLED or UHD TV this year. But we'd like to hear if any of you are excited about these new TV technologies, and if so, which one seems to be of more interest. Drop us a line in the Comments section and let us know what you think.
Source: NPD DisplaySearch: OLED TVs to Start Shipping by the End of 2012
—James K. Willcox