As we prepare for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show next week, many of us have wondered whether the much-anticipated debut of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs will actually happen this year, as rumors of manufacturing difficulties abound. LG Electronics is apparently answering that question with its announcement that it will start taking pre-orders—but only in South Korea—for its 55-inch OLED set (model 55EM9700), beginning this month.
The company will presumably have more to say about its plans—and the exact price—for this TV here in the U.S. during its press conference next week at CES. But LG says that customers in South Korea can expect to receive their sets as early as next month, after paying the equivalent of $10,000.
As we've written, OLED TVs combine some of the best attributes of LCD (thinness, light weight) and plasma (unlimited viewing angle, ultra-high contrast ratios, and no need for a separate backlight) TVs. LG's 55-inch set will weigh only 22 pounds, and it's just 0.16 inches thin. Given its flagship status, we expect the TV to be 3D-capable, and include LG's smart TV platform with gesture and voice control via its Magic Remote.
Unlike the OLED TV shown by Samsung at last year's CES, which uses three-color RGB OLED pixel technology, LG's TV uses what's called white OLED technology, which includes a white sub-pixel (along with RGB), plus a color filter (or color refiner) to produce color. Each technology has its advantages, and we're hoping to learn more about OLED at CES.
We also expect to hear more about OLED TV plans from other manufacturers during the show, although we expect OLED TVs to be in fairly short supply in 2013, primarily due to manufacturing issues as companies try and make larger-sized sets.
Visit our CES 2013 page at ConsumerReports.org for all our coverage.
—James K. Willcox