55-inch OLED TV in 2012?

LG Display CEO Young-soo Kwon:

LG Display may release a 55-inch OLED TV set sometime in the latter half of next year.

That’s exciting, but then there’s AU Optronics EVP Paul Peng. According to DigiTimes, he says large-sized OLED TV panels are not feasible for commercial use until 2014.

Peng probably didn’t mean large-size as in 10 inches and larger; he probably meant something really large, like 55 inches. And that got me thinking.

How much would a 55-inch OLED TV cost in 2012?

I only have two data points. The 11-inch Sony XEL-1 had an MSRP of US$2500 when it was made available in early 2008. Price per inch was $227. More recently LG outed its 15EL9500, a 15-inch OLED TV, for £1500 (US$2500) in mid-2010. That was $167 per inch.

In two years, from 2008 to 2010, the cost per inch for a commercially available OLED TV dropped $60 from $227 to $167 per inch. I’ll keep it simple and not go into technical details such as the different pixel format, brand premium, etc.

Assuming the cost of manufacturing goes down another $60 or so from 2010 to 2012, the cost per inch we can expect would be about $100. A 55-inch OLED TV would cost $5500 in 2012.

Today, a high-end 55-inch LCD TV from Samsung or LG costs around $3500. Next year the price should drop to below $3000. Would it be reasonable to ask an 80% premium for an OLED TV? Maybe not reasonable, but quite possible.

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