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When does $9,000 look like a bargain? When it buys Samsung’s 55-inch curved OLED

More than eight months after Samsung showed off its curved OLED prototype at CES 2013, you can finally buy one in the United States. Samsung marked the American launch of its 55-inch curved OLED TV, dubbed the KN55S9C, with an event in New York City today. As expected, the new TV made a striking impression as its veil was lifted. Perhaps more striking than its picture quality, however, was the new TV’s price, announced as “under $9,000.”

The box is slim and inconspicuous, and it allows the TV to manage a more contiguously-thin profile.

That’s considerably cheaper than the TV’s only competitor, LG’s 55EA9800, which arrived in the U.S. in July priced at $14,999. Aside from the current price chasm, Samsung’s curved OLED sports some unique features which help to distinguish it from LG’s. The most obvious of these is Samsung’s “Timeless Arena” frame, which looks similar in some respects to the “easel” frame used in its 85-inch S9 Ultra HD TV. The TV’s speakers are integrated right into the base.

Unlike LG, Samsung opted to place the TV’s processing electronics and inputs in a separate box, with just a single wire running to the television. The box is slim and inconspicuous, and it allows the TV to manage a more contiguously-thin profile.

Samsung Curved OLED News left side vertNaturally, the new curved OLED is packed with all of Samsung’s Smart TV features, including voice recognition, gesture control, S-recommendation TV viewing software and more. Samsung’s “Multi View” feature allows it to serve up two distinct images to two separate people using active 3D technology. The active 3D glasses have built-in earbuds for private, wireless stereo sound matched to the image being viewed. Curiously, the camera built into the TV’s frame is not retractable, a design choice which may raise concern now that smart TVs are vulnerable to hacking. [Update: Samsung informs us that the camera is indeed coverable. We’ll take a closer look at this in our review.]

Will LG cut its own price to roll with a competitor that’s $6,000 cheaper? Not right now. In response to the news of Samsung’s considerably less expensive model, LG told Digital Trends, “LG’s curved OLED TV, which has been on sale in the United States since July 22, is a premium product with superior performance and styling that command a premium price. It sells for $14,999.”

Digital Trends will have more comprehensive coverage of Samsung’s curved OLED coming soon, including an in-depth hands-on review of the TV later this week.