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LG starts sales of ground-breaking 55-inch OLED TV

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LG has made its new 55-inch OLED TV available for pre-order in South Korea, starting the war for next-generation TV screens.

The 55EM9700 model uses organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, which is more energy efficient and arguably offers a better picture quality than LCD and plasma-based TVs.

LG ultra-slim 55-inch OLED TV

© LG



Customers in South Korea can now pre-order the TV at more than 1,400 LG retail stores, with deliveries due to start this month. It will sell for 11 million won (£6,300), and other markets, including the UK, will follow during the first quarter of this year.

The 1080p (1920x1080 pixels) OLED television is just 4 millimetres (0.16 inches) thick and weighs less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds), but delivers a vivid and realistic picture thanks to its WRGB technology.

The Four-Colour Pixel system features a white sub-pixel that works with the conventional red, blue and green setup to create a superior colour mix.

LG has also fitted it with a Colour Refiner and infinite contrast ratio, which maintains the optimum contrast levels regardless of ambient brightness or the viewing angle.

The OLED set was first unveiled at the CES trade show last year to a great response, but cost and reliability constraints in the manufacturing process have delayed the launch until now.

OLED is considered by many to be a key future growth area for TV sales, with the market expected to hit to 7.2m units by 2016, according to DisplaySearch.

Samsung has unveiled its own 55-inch OLED model, but LG's is first to market. Analysts expect that the sets will not come down in price until around 2015, but LG is acting now to be regarded as the market leader.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to make this announcement at the start of the new year because we believe that OLED will usher in a whole new era of home entertainment," said Havis Kwon, the president and chief executive of LG's Home Entertainment Company.

"Not since colour TV was first introduced 60 years ago has there been a more transformational moment."

He added: "When high-definition TV was first introduced 15 years ago, the public's reaction was 'wow!' but when customers see our razor-thin OLED TV for the first time, they're left speechless.

"That's as clear an indicator as any that OLED TV is much more than just an incremental improvement to current television technology."

Another TV technology that is currently getting a lot of buzz among manufacturers is 4K, or "ultra definition", which delivers a picture four times the resolution of 1080p HD displays.

However, the new 4K sets are extremely costly, at over £20,000, and they use the existing LCD screens rather than the new OLED technology, which some commentators feel delivers a more vibrant picture.

> Sony heralds the future of television with 84-inch 4K set
> LG's mammoth 84-inch ultra HD TV launches in the UK

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