Whilst most of us have only just bought a Plasma or LCD television over the last five years, later this year the next generation of TV sets will arrive with the promise of picture reproduction beyond anything out there today.
OLED has been hailed as the most important advancement in TV technology over the last ten years and is already in mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy SII and the Sony PS Vita.
Whilst LCDs use colour filters and light-blocking liquid crystals above a light to create backlight and Plasmas use UV light created by igniting pockets of gas to excite red, green, and blue phosphors, OLED (organic light emitting diode) is a display technology where sub-pixels self-luminate, meaning no bulky backlight is needed.
The result is amazingly deep blacks and bright, peak whites, as well as improved colour accuracy – and all from a form factor that’s just a few millimetres in-depth, so much lighter than standard TVs, which in turns means more power efficiency.
Gamers and home cinema enthusiasts will adore OLED thanks to lightning-quick panels which are much faster than LED-backlit LCD panels and superior to plasma panels as well.
As well as a total absence of blur, and so much more detail, even during fast-moving videos like panning during sport scenes, light output is controlled in each individual pixel so localised dimming is precise.
Amongst the first to bring their new sets later this year, both LG and Samsung are remaining tight-lipped about the retail prices of these set when they arrive, but they should cost around £7,000, or around $9000 in the US.
Like all new technology, OLED TVs will be expensive initially. Remember it wasn’t too long ago that big-screen LCDs and plasma were ridiculously priced. The early adopters as usual will buy these first-generation panels eventually driving down the cost for everyone else. Some analysts have predicted only 2.5% of the 40-inch+ TV market by 2015 will be OLED sets due to their high prices and limited availability so like 3D we won’t all be rushing to get one straight away, however within a few years, we can all expect to see OLED set as a significant and affordable upgrade over LED LCDs and plasmas.
Samsung’s OLED TV (ES9500) will be a 55-inch panel with Smart Dual View technology, which allows two users to watch different 2D programs simultaneously while wearing 3D glasses with a vast improvement in colour reproduction compared with current LED-lit panel, even current local dimming high-end set. It will incorporate cutting edge premium features, including Smart interaction gesture control and Smart Evolution upgradability.
LG’s 55-inch OLED unveiled at CES weighs 16.5 pounds and is about as deep as a pencil (3/16 of an inch) which means you practically see an edge-to-edge picture when viewing the set.
In the future, OLED will have few limits on size or resolution with 4K resolution (four times the resolution of current 1080p) sets also in the works for a later stage. Ideas of wall-size OLED screens have been put forward. However flexible version are still some way off with screens you can roll up.