LG OLED with distorated planets 580

7/26/13 Updated and LG Specification Sheet added

OLED TVs are here, and HD Guru has managed to score one of the world’s first hands-on tests of this next-generation television, the LG 55EA9800

We just got back from Minnesota, the  location of the TV’s launch. We took a number of photos and dug deep to get you information you won’t find anywhere else.

Get the latest and see our photos after the break.

The first thing that struck us about OLED are the deep jet-black black levels. Even though the store lighting was going full blast, masking deep black, we cupped our hand over the screen and got a glimpse at the TV’s true potential. This, along with the LG statement that the contrast ratio is infinite, we are confident when black content appears there will be no emission from the panel. This would be a flat panel first and a fulfillment of the OLED performance promise. Unlike LED LCD with edge-lit or local dimming backlights, there were no halos around bright objects.

LG OLED scrarf 580

The maximum brightness was intense, even in the full lighting of the Best Buy showroom environment (the store and location chosen for the introduction). Colors were very saturated. Brightness uniformity looked excellent and color uniformity was good, based on LG’s demo loop.

We are waiting now have for a full input list (see the spec sheet link below), there are 4 HDMI inputs along with 3 USB jacks, one composite and one component video input via dongles (see photo) and RF antenna input and an Ethernet jack.

LG OLED Jack Pack 580

The screen is less curved than we recall from CES. We made some very quick measurements, and estimate that if multiple 55EA9800 screens were placed edge to edge in a circle, it would have a diameter of around 39 feet. We did not hear our voice bouncing off the screen when we spoke at screen center. We changed our position, moving from 2 to about 12 ft. away from the screen, and concluded the shallow curve does not appear to have a voice echo issue that we observed with earlier curved screen OLED demo units.

LG 55EA98 rear 580

As for having the curved screen sticking out from the wall, it’s another non-issue: the 55EA9800 is not wall mountable. It has a non-detachable base and lacks VESA mounting threads on the back. The smooth back itself is a carbon-fiber/plastic composite material. It’s very attractive and similar in appearance to carbon fiber automotive interior dash and door trim.

LG OLED with logo 580The screen curve does create a slight optical distortion, especially if you place the screen above your eyes. As you can see in the photo, it gives the appearance of an upward curve on top. We’ll call this Mr. Smiley face.

LG OLED Piezo Electric driver
LG uses two piezo-electric high-frequency drivers at the bottom right and left, mounted on a clear strip below the screen. LG’s TV Marketing Director said there are 6 more drivers for the mids and bass, downward firing in the middle of the screen bezel. The amplifiers put out a total of 40 watts, according to the press release.

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We are are still waiting for full specifications for the 55EA9800 however, they did provide us with a life expectancy of 30,000 hours (to half-brightness, the industry standard of measurement). Today’s Panasonic plasmas are rated at 100,000 hours (LG and Samsung do not provide lifespan for their plasma models). We have yet to see a lifespan spec for the LEDs in LED LCDs, however it does not seem to be an issue based on the total absence of consumer complaints of LED bulb wear or failure.

As for uneven color wear, LG claims its RGB sandwich OLED will not have blue deficiency over time (i.e., a shift towards yellow), a problem in OLED development that factored into a delay of HDTV OLED for sale to the public.

We just received and uploaded the official 55EA9800 Spec Sheet  .

We looked up some historical data and recalled LG’s 60-inch plasma was selling in 2005, for the same price as this OLED: $15,000.

We plan an update when we receive more specifications from LG, such as a brightness rating and energy efficiency, and will try to get our hands on a review sample to make our own measurements as soon as we can obtain one. Stay tuned.

Disclosure – LG paid travel expenses for the press event

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