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OLED (pronounced O-led; organic light-emitting diode) technology has been the next darling-in-waiting for years, making just enough noise to be noticed but seemingly forever in development. Meanwhile, LCD tech has become an industry favorite, helping to kill plasma and remaining the go to choice to bring Ultra HD to market.


Much to the excitement of enthusiasts yearning for infinite blacks and limitless contrast ratios, Samsung and LG spent the last year releasing several OLED displays with high-end price tags to match their allure. The big question remains: Does OLED live up to the hype? Luckily, we have experienced experts to tell us how these sets perform...and events like Value Electronics’ Flat Panel Shootout to compare different models in close quarters. Speaking of said event, Value Electronics’ 2014 gathering of professional eyes announced the event’s first-ever tie for King of the display world, judging that LG’s 55EC9300 OLED display and Samsung’s PN64F8500 plasma display are near equals (but better than the rest). Both models are mere 1080p HD mortals, beating out sets from a group 4K displays.

The LG model captured top scores in four out of six categories (black level, contrast ratio, day mode or high ambient light, and general content video quality), and the Samsung stole the show with color accuracy and motion resolution.

If you’re having thoughts about taking the 4K plunge, you may want to study the event’s results and reevaluate your plan. This isn’t to say that 4K sets are vastly substandard...but it does show that plain old HD is still a very viable option. The winning sets had their way (scoring wise) against more expensive LCD Ultra-HD models, especially in the categories of black level and contrast ratio. According to Rober Zohn’s (Owner, Value Electronics) conversation with Jason Knott of CEPro, he feels that contrast ratio is an attribute that can make or break a screen’s image, and LG’s OLED television had the highest score of the bunch. Not surprisingly, the LG model also displayed excellent black levels.


So, it appears that OLED has the upper hand and is a worthy successor to plasma...right?

Perhaps.

The results of the shootout are, at a minimum, a step in the right direction for the future tech. The only question is: which manufacturers are willing to invest their time in OLED manufacturing development? We’ve already seen Sony and Panasonic put the breaks on OLED endeavors in favor of LCD based Ultra HD displays, and earlier this summer Nikkei reported that Samsung opted to scratch plans to build a new facility for OLED display production. According to the report, Samsung had found manufacturing OLED panels to be difficult and inefficient. Pair these troubles with relatively poor OLED sales in 2013 and the company is a tad gun-shy. They, much like Sony, are going to reassert their energies into LCD technology for their Ultra HD forays (while hinting that immediate OLED efforts might be reserved for smaller screen applications).

That practically leaves us with LG as the lone OLED champion (no pun intended), carrying the torch of enthusiast hopes while the others sit back and watch…and the company isn’t hiding from the challenge. Several days ago, LG became the first manufacturer to announce sales of OLED Ultra HD displays.

“LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market,” said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry. I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer.”

The company’s two new sets, the 77-inch 77EG9700 and the 65-inch 66EC9700 aren’t just UHD resolution...they’re also curved, which puts the displays in even more rarified air. But before you dismiss nearly 33 million sub-pixels and what will undoubtedly be hefty price tags, consider the results from the Value Electronics Shootout. If LG can efficiently streamline OLED manufacturing, then they might just have a leg-up on the future of the industry.

Consumers in Korea can pre-order LG’s new TVs this week, while American and European customers will have to wait until later this fall.

Let us know your thoughts on the Shootout results and latest OLED news.
 

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From just looking at the numbers, all-in-all, it looks like plasma is still a pretty good deal and viable option. I'm really tempted by the Samsung PN51F4500BFXZA at less than $400 seems like a great deal for a secondary T.V.
 

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Yep, wouldn't disagree with that sentiment. Plasma, typically, was and is a proven performer.

If it weren't for the introduction of 4K, Plasma likely would have lived a bit longer. The good news is that OLED looks to be a possible successor. Hopefully more manufacturers will embrace it and invest R&D into manufacturing methods that can support their needs.
 

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Jim - How do you feel about the curved vs flat issue? My guess is that companies shy away from curved sets in 2015....
 

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Jim - How do you feel about the curved vs flat issue? My guess is that companies shy away from curved sets in 2015....
Where it has to go makes it a 100% flat for me.

The below picture is my cabinet. In side the cabinet was a 55" Samsung. The taped lay out was my getting ready for a Samsung 64F8500 which was too big to go inside the cabinet. So, I built a wall inside, mounted an articulating mount on the wall and hung the 64" on the out side of the cabinet.

I would love to hang a flat 77" OLED on the outside of the cabinet. If it curved, the TV would protrude from the wall at its edges and I bet someone walking by close to the wall would bump into it.




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Where it has to go makes it a 100% flat for me.

The below picture is my cabinet. In side the cabinet was a 55" Samsung. The taped lay out was my getting ready for a Samsung 64F8500 which was too big to go inside the cabinet. So, I built a wall inside, mounted an articulating mount on the wall and hung the 64" on the out side of the cabinet.

I would love to hang a flat 77" OLED on the outside of the cabinet. If it curved, the TV would protrude from the wall at its edges and I bet someone walking by close to the wall would bump into it.




m
This is exactly the reason I think curved is probably going to be a one to two year venture. Folks have spent the last decade re-working their spaces to accommodate flat panels, as they are, and my guess is that the extra effort to work-in a large curved panel is going to be a deterrent.
 

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I think there are probably a lot of people who would not need to re-work their space. I could easily accommodate a curved panel in my space, just don't know that I could get used to it. Seems rather gimmicky to me, kinda like 3D.
 

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Years ago, I purchase a brand new 52" Toshiba rear projection TV that was "HD ready".

A year later the HDMI cable entered into the market for HD TV's. Lo and behold, my HD TV did not have an HDMI connection. So much for "HD ready".

While watching the Flat Panel Shootout this year, Joe Kane and others mentioned that the big problem with UHD/4K is the connectivity. HDMI cables will not be able to carry across what 4K's need to reach their potential. Therefore, another transport will need to be developed once the UHD/4K standards are finally set.

I don't want to be in the same position as I was with the Toshiba "HD Ready" TV and that is to purchase an expensive 4K OLED now and a year later UDH standards are set which includes a new way to connect to the 4K leaving me out, once again, resenting the fact that I might have to purchase all over again.


Which brings me to my question.

Are videophiles a little premature in purchasing a 4K/UHD TV (OLED, LED, LCD) at this time and should wait for the dust to settle?



m
 

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Haha, yeah I still have a Humax HD tuner with HDMI for use with an HD ready T.V. that only had DVI-D. Seems like there is a lot more premature stuff in the video world than the audio. I think DVI was obsolete before it even had a chance to be implemented. If it had not come out prematurely we could have skipped it all together.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Years ago, I purchase a brand new 52" Toshiba rear projection TV that was "HD ready".

A year later the HDMI cable entered into the market for HD TV's. Lo and behold, my HD TV did not have an HDMI connection. So much for "HD ready".

While watching the Flat Panel Shootout this year, Joe Kane and others mentioned that the big problem with UHD/4K is the connectivity. HDMI cables will not be able to carry across what 4K's need to reach their potential. Therefore, another transport will need to be developed once the UHD/4K standards are finally set.

I don't want to be in the same position as I was with the Toshiba "HD Ready" TV and that is to purchase an expensive 4K OLED now and a year later UDH standards are set which includes a new way to connect to the 4K leaving me out, once again, resenting the fact that I might have to purchase all over again.


Which brings me to my question.

Are videophiles a little premature in purchasing a 4K/UHD TV (OLED, LED, LCD) at this time and should wait for the dust to settle?



m
I'll be interested to hear what members have to say...

I think pre-HDMI 2.0 UHD purchases were definitely riskier in terms of ease of future compatibility issues...the current crop of UHD TVs (especially ones with external units) are less likely to have issues. However, the numbers from the shootout tell the tale. Frankly, until those numbers flip, it just doesn't make sense to run out and spend money on a tech that is arguably at its price point height. If we're talking projectors...then my personal opinion might shift some. But, for the 50-65 inch display purchases? Seems like jumping in on 4K is another year out.

Thoughts?
 

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Which brings me to my question.

Are videophiles a little premature in purchasing a 4K/UHD TV (OLED, LED, LCD) at this time and should wait for the dust to settle?



m
Hi Jim,

I'll be waiting for sure, and that there is just one of my reasons. I do think you're on the money that HDMI 2.x just plain lacks the necessary headspace to do UHD properly, but it's also clear to me that the manufacturers, studios, et al are nowhere near a consensus on what to do for UHD or on how to do it. I am waiting for the OLED tech to mature, sure, but I'm especially waiting for an industry consensus to emerge on new standards and new connectivity.

I say you're wise to be a little gunshy right now. I am.

Yours,

David
 

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I e-mailed Robert Zohn my question regrading whether a videophile should wait until the dust settles on UHD standards or go ahead and buy.

Following is his answer back...


--------------------------------------------------------------


Hi Jim,

Thanks for the email.

Very good question, sorry to say no one knows the answers. Here’s a few upgrades that guys like Joe Kane and myself are pushing for and that may not be supported by the current UHD panels:

Larger color space, like DCI or rec. 2020. (OLED may be able to hit DCI color or get very close)

HDR, high dynamic range. Typically, this relates to increased brightness. (OLED can be calibrated to over 100fL already, brighter than other display technologies.)

Color sampling 4:4:4 or something higher than the 4:2:0 we currently use for Blu-ray and UHD. (OLED may have some advantages in this area as LG’s OLED panels are 10bit, higher bit rate panels help the display to resolve more color depth.)

Higher frame rates. Last year HDMI 1.4 gave us UHD resolution at up to 30fps, but in 2014 we got HDMI 2.0 that supports UHD up to 60fps. (Most 2013 UHD TVs were able to be upgraded to HDMI 2.0 and support UHD at 60fps.)

Most of these advancements require a larger bandwidth carrier and or more efficient compression beyond what HEVC h.265 offers (so this is not likely to happen anytime soon) and we’ll need a higher bit rate panel. Currently all if not most panels are 8 bit, but what Joe Kane is proposing would require a 16 bit panel and I don’t see that happening for many years. I would be happy with a more realistic upgrade to 12 bit panels.

So with all this said it will also take agreements between the motion picture industury, TV broadcasts and cable providers, and the TV equipment manufacturers to all agree on new standards that must be adopted by the ITU. Not until then can we expect to see some of the advancements listed above.

Hard to say if or when any of this will start to become available, but I don’t think it’s worth waiting for if you want to start enjoying the benefits of OLED and 4K. In fact, we may see 8K consumer TVs (totally useless in displays smaller than 220”) before any of the above referenced upgrades to UHD.

Hope this helps.

-Robert

Robert Zohn
Value Electronics
35 Popham Rd
Scarsdale, NY 10583
914-723-3344


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Just received our second allocation of LG's 55EC9300s today!

Inventory is starting to flow in regularly.

-Robert :)
 

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I'm glad to see OLED doing well, at least performance-wise, if not in widespread implementation yet. I love my plasma, and really not crazy about moving to LED for a 2nd bedroom display. Eventually we'll need another "main viewing" TV for the rec room, and I'm hoping that by then OLED will be firmly established.
 

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Totally agree with the sentiment of "curved" being the new gimmick like "3D".
My 6yr old 40" Pana Viera Plasma is fine and was well under $1k new; I am in no rush to spend much more for the latest tech. :spend:
 

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I think that curved screens will not last more than a few years before the market has rejected them. That is, unless there is a technical reason to use them that I don't know about, such as for really thin screens it might add some stability in large sizes.
 

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LG's curved OLED screens are very minimal and you really don't notice it while watching content. The new 55EC9300 is beautifully designed to be very minimal in all dimensions and styling.

LG's two week sale through Authorized Dealers makes this OLED TV a very compelling offering. Best of all is its most stunning picture quality.

You have to spend some time with an OLED TV to experience and appreciate the image performance that only an OLED panel can deliver.

Here's the details on LG's and our juiced-up offer.

This is a great sale on the latest gen OLED TV.

-Robert
 
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