LG has taken something that was first considered a concept into consumer reality by announcing that it will start taking pre-orders for its 55-inch Curved OLED TV in South Korea. Consumers who scoop one up will begin receiving them as early as next month, though no official timetable has been released, nor any word of when, or if, the TV will hit Stateside.
LG has plenty of retail stores in South Korea, and 1,400 of them have already begun taking pre-orders today, where customers have been paying the equivalent of $13,500 U.S. each.
The curved model (55EA9800) was shown at CES in Las Vegas in January, but at the time, was considered only to be a conceptual design showing the flexible properties of OLED screens. This announcement marks the first time a manufacturer has begun selling both a curved and flat OLED TV, the latter of which began selling in February, but has since been delayed in the U.S. market.
Featuring what it calls “an ‘IMAX-like’ viewing experience in the home,” LG says more than five years of research went into developing the perfect curvature to ensure “the entire screen is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes” in order to eliminate any potential problems with screen-edge visual distortion or an apparent lack of detail. LG didn’t outright suggest what the best viewing distance would be for the TV.
The TV is just 4.3mm thin, weighs only 37 pounds, and features LG’s proprietary WRGB technology, a four-color pixel system made up of a white sub-pixel that works in tandem with the usual red, green and blue palette to create the right color output. An “exclusive color refiner” adds another level of tonal depth for extra vibrancy in images onscreen.
As is to be expected in any OLED TV, contrast ratio is essentially infinite with unimpeded viewing angles. The speakers will reside in the crystal clear stand rather than the panel itself. LG didn’t address it in its announcement, but it appears the curvature and speaker placement may preclude the TV from being wall-mountable, despite its light weight and thin profile.
The OLED TV market still remains very nascent, and DisplaySearch believes the segment will grow to seven million units by 2016, a paltry number when compared to LED-LCDs or even plasma, but a likelihood unless prices come down considerably.