Gadget Watch: 55-inch OLED TVs from Samsung and LG

By Peter Svensson Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Gadget Watch: A daily look at what’s hot at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

What it is: Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. are showing off 55-inch TV sets that use organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, instead of plasma or liquid crystals.

Why it’s hot: It’s the first time in years we’re seeing a new screen technology for TVs. OLED screens can be extremely thin. LG’s set is just 4 millimeters thick. That’s one-sixth of an inch. The picture quality is stunning too, because OLED TVs can present highly saturated colors and a nearly perfect black.

Getting here: The screen technology is in use in high-end smartphones, but it has been very difficult to make larger screens with consistent results. In 2007, Sony Corp. started selling an 11-inch OLED TV for about $2,500, but it never followed it up with a bigger model. Since then, LG and Samsung have shown prototype OLED TVs at the annual CES show, but hadn’t revealed any marketing plans until this week.

Price: Samsung and LG didn’t say, but expect the sets to cost more than $5,000 each. It’ll take at least a few years for prices to come down enough for most people.

Availability: LG said fourth quarter of this year, tentatively. Samsung only said “this year.”