This EC9300 is LG’s second-generation curved OLED TV and is the last 1080p OLED the company will produce. The model will soon be replaced by a flat 4K UHD OLED option, the 55EF9500 (rumored to cost around $4,000 when released), and a curved 4K UHD version, the 55EG9600 (available for pre-order at Amazon for $5500).
OLED televisions receive high praise for their shockingly-thin profiles, perfect black levels, high contrast, and brilliant color. OLED TV technology is based on cells of organic material that emit their own light when an electric charge is applied, thereby requiring no backlight.
This $1000 price drop comes hot on the heels of news that quantities of LG’s 1080p OLED TVs have been piling up due to slow sales and high production rates. LG has reportedly cut back production of the 1080p OLED panel in favor of ramping up 4K OLED panel production. Sluggish sales of LG’s 1080p OLED television may be attributed to a combination of factors, including heavy promotion of 4K UHD LED televisions and the recent emergence of a new generation of UHD TVs featuring quantum dots or phosphor-coated LEDs marketed to compete against OLED by offering “OLED-like color.”
While these next-gen LED TVs do offer an expanded color gamut and higher brightness levels, their reliance on an LED backlight and LCD panel require extreme (and expensive) measures in order to allow them to produce competitive black levels and avoid pitfalls inherent to LED TVs, such as halo effect, which produces a halo of light around bright objects on a dark screen, and light bleed, which manifests as blooms of light near the edges of the television. As a result, an LED TV that can compete with an OLED model will often be just as expensive, if not more so.
As TV manufacturers push heavily in favor of 4K UHD models, it is likely we will see heavy discounts on all manner of 1080p HD TVs. This OLED price drop is also a sign of an impending battle between a new breed of high-performance LED TVs and OLED televisions. Currently, LG remains the only tier-1 TV manufacturer to produce OLED televisions, and has invested heavily in the technology. Meanwhile, competitors like Samsung, Sony, and Vizio have tabled OLED production, and remain committed to improving on 4K UHD LED technology. With gaps in price and performance between the two opposing technologies closing, the one that wins the public’s favor might boil down to a matter of marketing.