Beautiful, ultrathin OLED TVs from Samsung and LG were the stars of CES this year. And though neither has made it to market yet, make no mistake: this is the next big step in TV technology.

Samsung's 55-inch OLED. Samsung

Unlike 4K, there are no OLED TVs available today -- but they were the star of the Consumer Electronics Show last January, when both Samsung and LG revealed the first big-screen (55-inch) models to use organic light-emitting diodes.

Despite repeated appearances at trade shows, the OLED TVs never materialized in the marketplace in 2012 due to manufacturing difficulties. But they'll figure it out soon, and when they do, OLED will inevitably replace plasma and LCD as the flat-panel TV technology of choice. Stunning picture quality combined with ultrathin form factors -- LG's prototype OLED was just 0.157 inche thick -- makes OLED appeal to both videophiles and style mavens. Pundits optimistically predict OLED prices will fall to current LCD levels by 2016 (we doubt it), but when OLED TVs come out next year we expect them to cost as much as $10,000.

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About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."


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