The LG55EM9600 television has a depth of just 4mm, making it the thinnest OLED television produced. LG is particularly proud of how it has researched ways to bring down production costs of Organic Light Emitting Diode technology, which was a hindrance to it before from being a mainstream product. LG has managed to cut costs by coming up with a white OLED, which is overlaid by red, green and blue filters, which in turn is covered by a fourth filter-free white OLED sub-pixel. This is different to Samsung technology, which uses native red, blue and green pixels.
Like the Samsung, the LG was first introduced onto the scene at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2012. The release date for the LG OLED TV is expected to be in the last three months of 2012. Reviews from the CES show were impressive. Tim Moynihan from PC World described it as ‘probably the best TV I’ve ever seen’. The LG OLED TV is 55 inches across, which is the same size as the Samsung Super OLED TV.
Since the presentation of the LG OLED TV in Monaco in May it has been reported that the TV will be available to pre-order from July, and that models will then be shipped in autumn. Prototypes will then be put on display in Harrods and John Lewis in the UK. This pre-empts the release date of the Samsung OLED TV, which is most probably intentional. The event in Monaco which coincided with the Monaco Grand Prix was a star studded event, with LG drawing much celebrity pulling power due to its position as New Global Technology Partner for Formula 1. Among the famous spokespeople for the new LG TV model were David Coulthard, F1 former Champion Sebastian Vettel, supermodel Gemma Sanderson and movie director Jean-Jacques Annaud. Vettel described the TV as ‘amazing’ and ‘really impressive’. He remarked that the high motion resolution was perfect for watching sports like F1. Annaud the film-maker was very much impressed by the clarity of the OLED imagery and suggested that the screen’s wide viewing angles might alter how people see 3D today.
The TV model has such super-deep black levels that amazing contrasts in colour are the result. In displays with backlighting, instead of the OLED which is self-illuminating, the black areas are more like a dark grey. There is a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, something LG is very proud to claim. This ratio is up to fifty times larger than for an LCD/LED TV. The OLED gets its power from the LG Triple XD Engine which gives a Dynamic Colour Enhancer the best kind of colour reproduction. There is also a contrast optimizer and resolution upscaler installed.
The TV model is only 4mm and at such a thin depth there is a need to hide ugly wires, which is achieved by an LG separate control box which plugs in all the cables and hides underneath the TV in an attractive brushed metal design, which looks a lot like a Blu-Ray Player. Its 7kg weight, which is less heavy than the majority of televisions on the market, will allow for the TV to be easily mounted on the wall, almost like a poster. Alternatively, it comes with a decent stand for putting the TV on a table or in a TV cabinet. The OLED TV is about half the bulk of an LCD TV.
The 3D element of the LG OLED TV is expected to bring down prices of this TV a little, since it only boasts a passive 3D capability instead of an active 3D capability like some TV models on the market already. The passive element means that 3D glasses will not be powered by battery like for active 3D TVs. This does however make the glasses cheaper to buy and more affordable to buy in bulk for families who wish to watch films together. There is also a lower resolution picture than with an active 3D TV. The 3D technology on the LG is called LG 3D Cinema Technology. Nevertheless, the viewing angles are very wide and impressive in 3D.
The LG OLED has a Smart TV Platform, meaning it has full internet connectivity through Wi-Fi, through which apps like LOVEFiLM and iPlayer can be downloaded and used. There is also access to social networks and on-demand services. There is also voice recognition technology and the TV comes with a magic remote. This remote is similar to that one used with the Nintendo Wii, in that its uses a cursor which moves accordingly when the remote is pointed at the screen. This helps with easy web navigation and downloading of apps. Speakers are at the back of the device and there are AV connectors at the back along with three USB ports on the side of the TV for sharing media from flash drives or cameras.
Andrew Hoyle of CNET UK has called the TV the, ‘Best TV money can buy’. Steve Gater, the LG Consumer Marketing Director has said that, ‘A mass market for OLED is years off’. He has no need to sell ‘loads’ of OLED TVs, rather the production of the model is a sign that the company considers OLED a core technology for the future. In a way the design and release of an OLED TV is more about showing consumers what the company can do in terms of innovation instead of making big sales. Gater has said however that ‘thankfully there will always be people prepared to buy the latest technology. There will always be early adopters’. Mead, the LG Product and Consumer Marketing Manager has said that ultimately the new LG OLED TV technology ‘has to be seen to be believed’.