SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: South Korea's LG Electronics started selling new generation television sets on Wednesday (2 January) that use organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) that the company hopes will give it an edge of its giant rival Samsung.
The electronics giant began accepting pre-orders for the first commercial sales of such TV sets.
OLED TVs don't require separate back-lights and thus are thinner, consume about 20% less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat-panel sets.
The LG OLED model is 55 inches wide but just 0.16 inches (four mm) thick. It was crowned as the best gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, trumping a similar-size Samsung set.
"We will launch the OLED TV in North America, Europe and elsewhere in Asia in the first quarter to secure a leading position in this next-generation TV market," the company said in a statement.
The TV comes with a whopping price tag of 11m won (US$10,357), as manufacturers still struggle to cut the cost of mass-producing the delicate panels.
Samsung Electronics aims to start sales of its own OLED TVs later this year, although OLED displays are already used on its popular Galaxy S and Note smartphones.
Struggling Japanese TV giants Sony and Panasonic also teamed up last year to jointly develop OLED panels in a bid to catch up with the South Korean competitors.
Market researcher DisplaySearch estimated global sales of OLED TVs in 2013 would reach around 50,000 units and increase sharply to more than 7.0m units in 2016.
"Sony and Panasonic last year teamed up for joint development but they are nearly two years behind in terms of the technological gap with us," LG said.
via I-Net Bridge