What will be the future of big-screen TVs? Analysts at DisplaySearch can already see signs that OLED TVs could take longer to become a mass-market proposition compared to large 4K Ultra HDTV screens.
Samsung and LG both showed 55in OLED TVs at IFA this year, so there are at least two strongly competing companies, which should help get the premium prices down eventually.
However, 4K UHDTV sets are being produced by a whole host of brands – including LG and Samsung again – along with Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Haier and others.
DisplaySearch points out that the mass production schedule for OLED panels has slipped back and, getting to the crux of the matter, in consumers’ eyes OLED is only an incremental improvement over today’s increasingly thin LED-driven LCD TVs.
“Who will buy a $10,000 OLED TV in the current environment, when a 60-inch LCD TV with slim type LED backlight will be sold at less than $1,000?” asks David Hsieh on the DisplaySearch blog.
Samsung's ES9500 OLED TV
For high-end TVs the analyst expects that “we will likely see 4K LCD TVs coming to market faster than OLED.”
One of the main reasons for this is that 4K content and broadcasting is moving forward, benefiting from digital cinema productions at the same resolution through widely available 4K cameras. Up-scaling technology is also improving.
DisplaySearch adds that 4K UHDTV, with its 3840 x 2160 resolution will be best suited for TVs of 50 inches and above. OLED panels are currently limited to 1920 × 1080, known under the now rather outmoded description of “Full HD”. 4K OLED screens are reportedly being planned by LG for 2013 but LCD UHDTVs are likely to cost less.
Hsieh says that compared to OLED TV panels, 4K LCD panel manufacturing “is relatively easy because smaller pixels are the only change.” DisplaySearch forecasts that, in 2017, the 4K format will account for 22 percent of LCD TVs measuring 50 inches or more.
Even 4K is a stepping stone towards long-term plans for 8K Ultra HD, which will have 7680 x 4320 pixels.
Images: Sony & Samsung