If you've been holding out, waiting for one of those shiny new OLED TVs, your patience is about to be rewarded. Bloomberg says that Samsung will start shipping large OLED flat panels later this year.
There aren't too many details about actual sizes and other specs yet. However, Kim Hyun Suk, head of Samsung's TV operations, says that the company will start selling OLED TVs in South Korea sometime in the second half of the year. Global shipments are expected to follow soon after.
Before you start making out that holiday wishlist, know that these OLED TVs will be pricey. Think about the most expensive HDTV you've ever seen. Now, double that price. Once you get over that number, know that it may actually be a little conservative. The AP is reporting that a 55-inch OLED TV will cost over 10 million won -- or more than $9,000.
With the exception of tradeshow demos, we've only seen OLED in small screen sizes so far. Boasting excellent color saturation, image uniformity, brightness and contrast, OLED can actually generate the same or better black levels that plasma can do, but in a panel that's slimmer than an LCD. OLED TV actually promises a bigger image that's better than plasma and LCD, but in a form factor as slim as 0.16 inches.
Both Samsung and LG are promising OLED TVs for 2012. Our friends at HomeTechTell point out that Samsung's OLED displays differ from the ones we've seen from LG. Samsung uses red, green and blue OLED, while LG has white light and an extra color filter. Samsung plans to stick to its current model this year, but is open to exploring new methods for the long term.
It should be interesting, considering how the two companies are such close rivals in the OLED race. LG recently announced plans to drop its own OLED TV during May's Cannes Film Festival.
For now, however, Samsung seems to be at the head of the TV pack, with iSuppli quoting a record market share for the company. If the research firm's numbers are correct, Samsung accounted for about 25 percent of total LCD TV shipments in the fourth quarter.
Bloomberg also quotes iSuppli in saying that shipments of OLED TVs could hit 34,000 this year and grow to 2.1 million sets by 2015.
UPDATE: enGadget has some additional details on the ES9500 including some shots of the production sets on display at the World's Fair in Korea.
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