OLED TVs Finally Reach American Market

Petrifying pocketbooks in the Midwest

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It looks like folks in the dusty Midwest will be the first to receive some shiny new toys from overseas: LG's 55-inch EA9800 OLED televisions went on sale today at a Best Buy in Richfield, Minnesota—for a staggering $14,999.

For years now, LED and plasma televisions have confronted shoppers with a dispiriting dilemma: A plasma TV can deliver dynamite dark levels, but the accompanying peak brightness is often too dim to compete with a sunny room; reversing the matter, an LED TV can easily compete with the sun, but its black levels are frequently shallow and unconvincing. There are many other difficult deciding factors between LED and plasma TVs, but this is a big one.

OLEDs are incredibly difficult to manufacture—thus the big fat price tags.

Cue OLED televisions. The acronym OLED stands for organic light emitting diodes, and the technology could potentially put an end to this pick your poison business. The technology can serve up both lustrous luminance and dramatic darks levels, so that man caves and sunny living rooms alike can host an excellent picture. What took so long and why are OLEDs so expensive, you wonder. The fact is, OLEDs are incredibly difficult to manufacture—thus the big fat price tags. But the benefits may be worth it. Since OLEDs produce their own light, the resulting design is incredibly slim, the contrast ratio has the potential to be massive, and the viewing angle vast.

LG's new panel sports a curved design and an ultra-thin profile, as well as gesture and voice controls, 3D, and LG's Smart TV platform. The TVs have been available in South Korea since April, but this is the first of its kind to hit the American market. In the approaching weeks, TV geeks in LA, NYC, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and San Antonio will be able to see these TVs at local Best Buys.

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