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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

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Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

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Should I buy a TV now or wait for OLED?

With last week's unveiling of LG's one-step-closer-to-production 55-inch OLED TV, the question we've been asked is: I want to upgrade my TV, should I hold off my TV purchase until OLED hits the market?

The short answer here is no.

And whenever you see the phrase "short answer" anywhere, it's bound to be followed by a significantly longer answer, and here 'tis...


We're no longer in the period where the price of OLED displays is the in the realm of oil-baron-buys-football-club crazy. Does anyone remember 2009's 11-inch Sony XEL-1, which retailed for a shade under AU$7000?

If our guesstimates are correct, then Samsung's and LG's 55-inch OLED TVs will retail here for somewhere north of AU$10,000. That represents significantly improved value over the XEL-1, but it's still not fantastic in absolute terms, as you can pick up a range-topping 55-inch LCD TV for at least half that, if not closer to AU$3.5K.

And, as much as we love OLED's deep blacks, rich colours and wonderful viewing angles, the anticipated asking price is, for those of us not sitting on a large sum of oil, natural gas or iron ore, a lot to shell out for a TV. If it was our money, we'd live with the limitations of an LCD display and wait.

If not now, when?

Samsung's and LG's 55-inch OLED TVs are set to launch later this year in key overseas markets, such as the US and Europe. We're likely to see them on sale just in time for the Christmas rush, although nothing's been confirmed yet. Mind you, if they prove to be popular, they may not arrive in Australian stores until the first months of 2013.

This means that even if you were cashed up enough and wanted to have an OLED TV right here, right now, you can't.

Our trusty crystal ball says that it will be at least three years before OLED TVs are in the same pricing ballpark as LCD TVs. In the first year that the 55-inch OLED TVs are on sale, they'll be targeted towards early adopters who will to pay the hefty, but not entirely laughable, asking price.

In year two, prices will be cut by around 25 to 35 per cent, with smaller OLED sets hopefully dragging the entry price down still further. By this point, there should be a few more manufacturers entering the fray, such as the reported Sony and Panasonic partnership. Come the third year, there will be another round of price cuts in the order of 25 to 35 per cent, and the price difference between OLED and LCD TVs should hopefully be under the AU$2000 mark.

At this stage in the evolution of OLED TV, it will be possible for some of us to weigh the benefits of OLED versus LCD and ask ourselves: are the benefits worth the premium?

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yoshi25688 posted a comment   

How about Plasma?


mutan posted a reply   

YES, what about the Plasma?

I have a Panasonic VT20 58 inch plasma. A year old now, perfect picture. I exchanged this, which was on the floor of the shop for a Samsung LCD I got (the first of the LCD Smart Samsung's last year) which I had to send back - after 3 weeks it developed a thin black line in the screen. A typical trait to Samsung's in the past I have since discovered via the net.

The plasma's picture was streets ahead of the LCD. And considering the fiasco of the 3 week old Samsung that crapped itself I was hesitant to swap for a display model in lue of. But assured by the sales guy (who is now a closer friend they he was then) that the Panasonic VT's were the cream of the crop last year.

The rest of my family and friends have various LCD's - they are not old tv's, some very new including a new flash Samsung super-smart do everything tv only a month old. But its not brilliant, even after a calibration disc and hours spent mucking about with the settings. Its not as good as the plasma. It colours are not real, they are sorta cartoonist and bright, even when the settings are fiddled with it still has the plastic look.

None of these LCD's have the picture quality the plasma has.

So why is it that I see it, my friends see it, the guy who sold me the TV at the store see's it, others who sell these things see it, the top of the range plasmas are better that the best LCD's.

And no, I am not a Panasonic nut, or a plasma nut, this is my first flat screen tv. I just see it like it is.

So forget the wait for a $7000 TV. Because you just know that right around the corner someone is going to tell you the next new TV is about to change the world.

So get the best you can afford now and I would reckon the top of the range cheaper plasma TV's will still have a picture that will make you far happier than the extra loot you have to spend on the latest show-off LCD.

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