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CES: Samsung Says OLED TVs '3 Or 4 Years Away'
Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2014) - HS Kim, Samsung's vice president for visual display, just delivered some chilling news for OLED TV enthusiasts in a new USA Today interview.
Along with LG, Samsung is one of two TV makers who are manufacturing the ultra-thin OLED sets. But both companies are keeping prices out of the reach of most consumers because of manufacturing difficulties.
And asked about OLED's future prospects in the interview, Kim said: "I'm really, really terribly sorry to say this, but it will take more time...I believe it will take around three to four years."
Kim's remarks probably explain why Sony and Panasonic just dissolved their partnership to manufacture OLED sets and why Samsung and LG are now selling their 55-inch OLED models for around $9,000. Largely because of OLED's thin and delicate paneling, TV makers have had great difficulty mass producing the sets.
The dilemma has OLED fans upset because OLED, which stands for organic light-emitting diode, combines some of the best features of Plasma and LED sets, displaying deep blacks and high contrast levels. The result is that the ultra--thin TV's eye-popping picture and sleek style is a real dazzler.
But it's that ultra-thin aspect of the OLED TV is what's stopping it from becoming the 'Next Big Thing,' at least for now. On some models, the OLED TV is just 0.15 inches thick, which makes for a fantastic-looking TV but one that's a pain in the butt to mass manufacture.
Kim noted that the high price tags, required to keep demand down with supply so low, is a major obstacle at retail:
"Not many consumers tried to purchase OLED TVs at that price," Kim said. "Price was our greatest barrier. So our attempt to expand the market didn't really go well."
He added that the manufacturing process is more difficult than the industry realized when it first introduced the OLED sets at trade shows a few years ago.
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