Don't hold your breath for a flat-panel LG OLED TV in the U.S.

The Korean electronics giant will only be releasing the curved version of its OLED TV in the U.S., at least for the foreseeable future, the company tells CNET.

The 55-inch LG curved OLED TV. LG Electronics
SEOUL, South Korea -- If you've been dying to get your hands on a flat-panel OLED TV from LG, you're out of luck -- unless you live in South Korea.

The Korean electronics giant plans to release only the curved version of its high-end TV in the U.S. That's not going to change in the foreseeable future, LG spokesman Ken Hong told CNET at the company's headquarters in Korea.

The chief reason for that is to easily set the OLED TV apart from other televisions LG and rivals offer, Hong said. In addition, a curved OLED TV can be priced higher than the flat version as it's something differentiated on the market.

Hong noted that at the early pricing -- which is pretty steep, no matter if the display is curved or not -- the selling point for the TV has to be about more than just the hardware.

"With the curved OLED you can recreate an IMAX theater in your living room," Hong said. "Now, who wouldn't want that?"

TVs with OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, screens are hitting the market around the same time as another new TV technology known as 4K, or Ultra HD. OLED offers significantly better picture quality than current TVs, plus lower energy consumption and even thinner cabinets. 4K, meanwhile, offers four times the resolution of current television displays. TV manufacturers are counting on both to help revitalize a stagnant television market.

OLED TVs have been promised for quite some time, but the chief manufacturers, LG and Samsung, have faced problems with building the displays. Error rates have been high, which has hurt yields. Such TVs are finally reaching the U.S. market, though, with LG products shipping now and Samsung OLED televisions arriving soon.

The LG 55EA9800, a 55-inch OLED TV with a curved screen, became available for preorder last month at a price of $14,999. An executive told CNET at the time that it would ship to the homes of the people who placed orders "within a couple of weeks."

It's not clear right now what Samsung will be doing in terms of OLED in the U.S. The company currently sells such TVs in places like Korea, and a curved version is expected to hit the U.S. sometime this month, as CNET reported last week.

Samsung hasn't officially announced OLED availability in the U.S. We'll provide updates as we learn more.

 

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