August 16, 2013
Watch Two Programs At Once With New Samsung OLED TV
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The fiery battle between South Korean consumer electronic giants Samsung and LG has been heating up for some time. Samsung has now added fuel to that fire by announcing the release of its long-awaited OLED curved TV – and at a price a bit lower than expected. More importantly, consumers might be getting two sets for the price of one.
Last month LG began selling its 55-inch Curved OLED TV, model 55EA9800, and was in the process of taking pre-orders in the United States. The set is notable for being thin and light – weighing just 37.5 pounds, or a fraction of what other sets of that screen size would weigh – but is also notable in that it offers a slightly curved screen.
TV makers have touted the benefits of OLED, which stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, as it can produce distinct blacks and whites, reproduce vibrant colors and yet has little in the way of motion blur. Moreover, these sets are thinner and brighter than competing LED and plasma display technologies.
Samsung’s new 55-inch curved display, which is priced at $8,999.99, and is reportedly shipping to retailers and available for order via the Samsung.com website, had originally been tagged at around $15,000 – the same price as the LG model. However, Samsung said it was able to improve and even streamline the manufacturing process enough to drop the price – and undercut the competition.
“It makes it easier to sell it to a spouse or put it on a credit card,” display analyst Richard Doherty of The Envisioneering Group told Mike Snider at USA Today. “I’m sure we'll see LG do something to bridge the gap or beat it.”
In addition to being thin and lightweight, and offering that curved screen, the Samsung model also offers what could be a true killer app for the living room – it features a unique MultiView feature that lets two people watch different programming simultaneously on the set while wearing 3D glasses.
“Some of us at Samsung call it ‘the marriage saver’ because my wife and I can be sitting on the couch watching two different programs on the same OLED TV,” said David Das, vice president of home entertainment for Samsung Electronics America.
To deliver individual audio streams, each viewer can wear a personal ear bud headphone that is built into the special 3D glasses, and two pairs of these come with the set.
Even with this functionality, the takeoff for OLED could be slow. According to research firm DisplaySearch, only 20,000 OLED models may be shipped globally this year, but that number will likely grow to 400,000 next year and could reach two million by 2015.
The falling price of current HDTV technology, including LED and plasma, is partially to blame and consumers are unlikely to pay more for the expensive OLED sets when so many options in large screen sizes are available.
OLED also faces competition from a competing TV technology, namely Ultra HD – also known as 4K. This technology, which offers four times the resolution of current full HDTV, could likely find its way to OLED, but for now is limited to the more traditional display platforms.
Samsung may be hedging its bets on which set consumers might embrace in the short term, and has introduced a 55-inch model for around $5,500, and a 65-inch model for $7,500.