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
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
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.