LG has announced the availability of their 77-inch (77EG9700) and 65-inch (65EC9700) 4K OLED Ultra HDTVs. Why is this a big deal? Because this is the first time that a TV combining both 4K Ultra HD and OLED technology is available to consumers.
The Holy Grail: OLED + Ultra HD
Until recently, OLED and Ultra HD have been distinctly separate technologies. When combined, the results are absolutely jaw-dropping.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology has been in development as early as the 1950’s, when the first observations of electroluminescence in organic materials were made. An OLED display functions without a backlight, allowing it to display deep black levels in a thinner and lighter construct than a liquid crystal display (LCD).
Ultra HD features two resolution standards, 4K and 8K. While 8K remains in a prototype phase, 4K has already hit the stores with four times the resolution of standard Full HD screens.
Related: What is Ultra HD?
OLED has been the buzz at various trade show events for some time, and generally showcased in Full HD (1080p) form. However, the real holy grail has been the successful combination of 4K Ultra HD with OLED, which we saw at CES 2013 when Panasonic demonstrated the first 4K OLED Ultra HDTV prototype. Naturally, audiences were thrilled with its stunning clarity.
If You Build It, OLED Will Come
So why hasn’t OLED replaced today’s LED-LCD TVs yet? Simply put, it’s very expensive to manufacture, and thus harder to sell to consumers while remaining profitable for the manufacturer. In fact, the recent CE Week event in NYC featured a panel of leaders from each of the major television manufacturers where they speculated about OLED. All but one agreed that OLED “just isn’t ready yet” — LG being the black sheep of the family. The LG spokesperson defended the company’s stance on OLED 4K Ultra HD, essentially stating that the high yield manufacturing processes are available and that there is a market for the product.
“LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market,” said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry. I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer.”
“OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG,” added Mr. Ha. “OLED’s benefits are obvious. There’s no deterioration in picture quality and issues such as image blurring, distortion and color leakage in curved LED units are simply non-existent on curved OLED TVs. 4K OLED TV represents superb value for the consumer in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail and viewing angles.”
LG has delivered on their OLED promise, bringing two 4K OLED Ultra HDTVs to the market this week with pre-orders starting in Korea and the UK, which are reported to ship in October. Other reports suggest that LG plans to launch in the U.S. this September with the 65-inch model selling at $6,999. Visitors to IFA can see LG’s 4K OLED TVs for themselves by visiting Hall 11.2 of Messe Berlin from September 5-10.