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What Happened to the OLED TV?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I was a CES last year and all people could talk about was the OLED TV. So where the hell are they?? I can't find one at a store or online. -- Steve, Las Vegas, Nevada.

You're right, Steve. The OLED TV easily dwarfed the 4K TV as the hit of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The set, which can be as thin as 0.15 inches,
works without a backlight, enabling it to display deep blacks and high contrast levels. At CES, the OLED TV's picture was just eye-popping, a real dazzler.

Samsung and LG
said at the 2011 show that OLED sets would be coming to U.S. stores in the second half of the year and some display analysts predicted that it would be the next big thing in consumer electronics.

However, because of that thin panel, OLED TV manufacturers have struggled for years to mass produce an OLED set. Sony issued an 11-inch OLED model four years ago and finally conceded that it couldn't figure out how to make one larger that could be manufactured in the millions without charging a fortune.

And now it seems that LG and Samsung are still having trouble with OLED production. LG, which promised a few months ago that it would finally launch an OLED set in the UK this summer,
is taking e-mail addresses at its web site, saying it will notify people when the OLED is available.

If you go to the
Samsung TV Home Page, you won't even find a mention of the OLED TV. Type OLED in the Samsung TV search box and you get a list of six TVs that have nothing to do with OLED.

Sony has also discussed publicly that it will return to the OLED, but check out
this search for OLED at Sony Electronics.

I have to conclude at this point that the OLED TV is in limbo, at best.. Despite the brave front put up by company executives, it's clear -- even clearer than the picture on an OLED TV -- that they are still having trouble with production and cost.

Bottom line: We might still see some OLED sets this year but I wouldn't bet on it. (LG just issued a press release saying it would ship some 'curved' OLED sets this summer in Korea, but no word on any U.S. coverage) I also wouldn't bet on it becoming the next big thing in CE. It would seem more likely to become yet another CES star that faded into obscurity soon after the show ended.

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