Samsung, LG to delay 55-inch OLED TVs until 2013

You might not have the privilege of being able to pay something like US$10,000 for a shiny new OLED TV this year, after all.

LG's 55-inch 55EM9600, winner of our Best of CES award, was supposed to come out this year.
(Credit: LG)

According to DisplaySearch, a display industry analysis firm, problems with manufacturing will keep both LG and Samsung from releasing their 55-inch OLED TVs in 2012.

"Samsung and LG recently scrapped their plans to mass produce 55-inch OLED televisions this year, as the companies are having serious difficulties in improving manufacturing yield," said an unnamed DisplaySearch official in The Korea Times.

"Samsung and LG planned to start selling OLED TVs at major outlets worldwide during the London Olympics. But mass-produced OLED TVs will be available from late next year, not this year."

However, CNET has spoken with a well-placed LG official who insists that the report is inaccurate. "LG's plans have not changed for initial launch in late 2012," he said. That launch will likely be in limited quantities, said the official, and he couldn't go into detail as to whether the TVs would launch in Korea only or elsewhere this year.

Neither company confirmed or denied the report to The Korea Times, although Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that "high prices and lower manufacturing yield are problems". CNET spoke to a Samsung representative, but the company provided no additional comment.

While small OLED screens for mobile phones and tablets are common, larger sizes have been "just around the corner" for years. OLED TVs have the potential to outperform current plasma and LED/LCD flat panels, while offering incredibly thin form factors. This was to be the first year that they actually went on sale.

After splashy announcements by both companies at the 2012 January Consumer Electronics Show (CES), CNET awarded the LG 55EM9600 our "Best in Show". Prototypes of both it and the Samsung ES9500 have been shown this year at various events, including an event in Monaco covered by CNET Asia's Philip Wong.

Pricing for the TVs was never officially announced, but various reports put the 55-inch sets at between US$8000 and US$10,000.


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