Since the introduction of Samsung’s OLED (organic light emitting diode) HDTV at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics (CES) we’ve been waiting for this exciting new large screen display technology to be offered for sale. After almost one and a half years, Samsung announced plans today to ship these wafer thin televisions next week into the Korean market.
What’s the price for this tech marvel? According to the Korean Yonhap News Agency the 55-inch KN55F9500 will be about $8780 US (10 Million Won). A Samsung spokesperson told HD Guru, the US version is expected to ship here in the second half of 2013.Yonhap also reported Samsung is planning to ship the curved version of its OLED, first shown at the 2013 CES. Read our take and more after the break.
According to an industry trade publication, Samsung improved the yield of its 55-inch OLED pilot production line from 20% a year ago to 60% today. This may explain why Samsung is now ready to ship into the Korean market. However ,it could also be competitive pressures as LG began shipping small quantities of its 55-inch OLED HDTV into Korea this past May. LG is also struggling with obtaining mass production with a trade publication citing a former employee saying its current 55-inch OLED production rate at just 200 units a month. Until LG or Samsung can get the yields way up and higher production rates, we do not anticipate prices for large screen OLED HDTV to drop to levels that can compete with LCD for a number of years.
LG and Samsung announced the availability of curved screen versions of their respective 55-inch OLED TVs. At CES both companies demonstrated their respective curved OLEDs and frankly we don’t see the need for it. There is no improvement in the picture, it’s just the opposite for several reasons. One of the big selling points of OLED is its wafer thin panel with a depth of 4mm, not only does the curve make the screen much deeper making it stick out of a wall instead of hugging it, the curve creates an optical distortion. We find it ironic that the last major development in CRT television design (do you remember picture tubes?) was to change the surface from convex to flat, claiming a reduction in optical distortion by having all parts of the picture in the same plane, just like today’s LED LCDs and plasma HDTVs.
The other consideration is sound. Curving the screen into a concave arc will produce the reflection of the sound of your own voice if you speak while sitting at a particular distance from the screen. The point of where you would hear the echo of your voice depends on how many degrees of arc Samsung decides on using for the production model.
If the Samsung KN55F9500 does become available in the US this year, we see at as a small first step to mass adaptation. The demand for the best quality display keeps moving toward larger and larger screen sizes. The top rated Panasonic ZT60 plasmas are only available in the 60 and 65-inch screen sizes because that is where there is higher demand is for the best looking displays. If OLED ever reaches mass production, larger than 55-inch screen sizes would be the next logical step in this technology’s development.
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