Samsung OLED TVs at GITEX: 14.1″ and 31″

Arabian Business:: Samsung is showcasing two OLED TVs at GITEX: 14.1″ and 31″. The OLED TVs sport a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, a 107% NTSC color gamut and a brightness of 550 cd/m2. Samsung has stated that commercial production of OLED TVs will commence around 2010. In recent years there have been significant progress in OLED development. But will OLED be good enough?

The specifications sound good. Of course. But let’s see what the LCD and PDP camps are up to these days. A contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 is impressive, especially if it is static contrast ratio. Today’s advanced LCD TVs reach 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios thanks to a LED backlight and local dimming technologies. The best PDP TVs feature contrast ratios that are even higher. The Pioneer KURO TVs don’t even have a contrast ratio number in the specification data because the company feels the numbers don’t mean anything because they are so high. So in terms of contrast ratio, especially if the numbers are static contrast ratio, OLED has the upper hand today with Sony’s XEL-1 compared to LCD TVs, but PDP TVs are already competitive if not better. I think LCD TV technology will advance and beat OLED technology in terms of contrast ratio in 1 1/2 years.

With RGB LED backlight technology getting beyond a color gamut of 100% NTSC is easily achieved. With improved color filters in 1 1/2 years, I am certain that color gamuts will improve to beyond the levels shown by any OLEDs. PDP TV’s color gamut is already quite good. Brightness of 550 cd/m2 is really nothing to brag about.

These OLED TVs by Samsung weigh 40% less than equivalent sized LCD TVs. This is important as transportation costs and related costs to support transportation (especially fuel costs) will be reduced and decrease the environmental impact. After slimming down the chassis and reducing power consumption, my guess is that weight reduction will be a major push for LCD and PDP TV manufacturers in the near future. That would mean using light-weight but sturdy metals such as aluminum or exotic materials such as carbon fiber. In 1 1/2 years, there will be ultra-light LCD and PDP TV models.

Now bear in mind that we’re looking at mass production of a 30″-class OLED TV in 2010 by Samsung. My estimate is that by then, we are looking at $2999 60″-class LCD and PDP TVs with all the bells and whistles. What would a 30″ OLED TV cost in 2010? That is anyone’s guess, but I will guess that it will cost more than a 60″ LCD or PDP TV. My preference are with more advanced, larger and cheaper when it comes to purchasing a TV. There will be early OLED adopters who must have the latest and greatest that technology has to offer, but those will be few because the alternatives will be so much better. Don’t get me wrong, I want display technology to advance and it seems OLED is poised to be the next generation display technology but from what I am seeing in terms of the rapid development in LCD and PDP TV technologies, OLED will have a very difficult time capturing momentum and market share for a very long time.

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