One of the hottest topics of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was OLED TVs (as well as Ultra HD/4K, but that’s for another day). While OLED TVs were shown at CES 2012, they were front and center at this year’s show and without question stole the show. So with consumers finally having accepted HDTV and appreciating it’s picture quality (though there are actually folks who are still using traditional CRTs!), it’s time to start looking towards the next big thing.
So what exactly is OLED you ask? Well in a nutshell, OLEDs do not need a light source in the same way say an LCD/LED does. Basically an OLED display uses three types of polymers; one that emits red light, one that emits green light and the other emits blue light. The beauty is that each polymer creates its own light when charged, allowing the TV to be extremely thin; I’m talking razor thin! Another huge benefit of OLEDs are their infinite contrast, which nets you black levels that are as deep as darkness - a typical issue with LCDs and to some extent LEDs, though there are a some really good LEDs that have deep blacks (plasmas also have the best blacks...for now).
Happy with your current TV’s refresh rate? Well guess what, scratch that, as OLEDs are so fast that blurring and smearing effects will be a thing of the past.
Keep this in mind, although Ultra HD/4K will have higher resolutions than an OLED display, the former is still using current technology, for the most part, just with sharper images. OLED on the other hand is a completely new technology. The downside of course is that OLED is obviously in its infancy so we still don’t know for sure just how long a display will last. Like any other new piece of technology, there will surely be some growing pains as the manufacturers get better and better at producing it. And then there’s pricing. LG has already announced that their 55-inch OLED will arrive in March for a whopping $12,000. Samsung is also cooking one up as we speak but they did not mention a price point at CES. Without question, price will be a deal breaker for many consumers who have probably already spent a few thousand dollars on their newest LED TVs, especially for those who picked one up over the holidays.
So if OLEDs are so expensive, why should you be excited? Well aside from the magnificent picture quality (duh!), OLED displays will run on 1080p, which means you won’t have to move onto another resolution, as you would with Ultra HD/4K. So your fancy Blu-ray player and HD cable or satellite box will still work just fine.
So with OLEDs set to arrive this year, keep this in mind. The picture quality is exquisite with a better contrast ratio than any TV, ever. It’s extremely thin, can be scaled in size and also resolution and it uses up less power than existing TVs. Did I mention the picture looks amazing?
While consumers will likely scoff at the idea of a new TV type this soon, it’s one of those technologies that has to be seen to believe. Surely early adopters are already putting money aside to be the first to pick one up as soon as they hit retail stores.