Now is not a great time to buy a 2017 TV.
The newest TVs are starting to hit the market, and Samsung's Quantum dot LED (QLED) TVs just appeared for preorder on Samsung's site as well as places like Amazon and Best Buy. Initial prices are hella expensive.
The cheapest QLED TV so far, the 55-inch QN55Q7F, costs $2,500. That's $200 more than LG's cheapest 2016 OLED TV, the B6P, which we called the best TV we've ever tested. LG's cheapest 2017 OLED TV costs $3,500.
Television prices follow a predictable trend. Most TVs get introduced during late winter and early spring at their most expensive, and fall in price throughout they year. Many bottom out around November for Black Friday sales, and remain near their lowest points through the holiday season until the Super Bowl, when they begin to be replaced by the newer sets. That's why we encourage TV buyers to wait until later in the year to get the best deal.
For now, here are the prices of Samsung's QLED line we know about, followed by comparable OLED TVs from LG.
Current Samsung QLED vs. LG OLED prices
|Size||Model year||Shipping date||Screen||Price|
We haven't reviewed Samsung's QLED TVs yet, but I don't expect them to beat the picture quality of OLED TVs with most material. The article below compares what I know so far about Samsung QLED and LG OLED TVs. I expect to deliver a final verdict soon, when I can get a QLED TV in for review.
In case you're wondering, Samsung says the Q8 has more zones of local dimming then the Q7, which could improve its image quality. The Q8 is only available with a curved screen, the higher-end Q9 (pricing and availability TBD) will have a flat screen, and a curved version of the Q7 will also be forthcoming. All of the QLED models, including the Q9, will use edge-lit local dimming, which is historically inferior to the full-array variety.
Samsung's website has more information and specs. I expect to get more details when Samsung holds its official TV launch event sometime in March.
Will QLED be cheaper than OLED by this fall?
I'm guessing yes. The 2016 OLED TVs on the table above will sell out relatively quickly, leaving the 2017 OLED models, which are $1000 more expensive than the cheapest QLED sets.
I underestimated how much Samsung would charge for its QLED TVs, and for the record, I think those prices are very expensive -- unless the TVs somehow match the performance of LG's 2016 OLEDs, which I consider unlikely.
That said, you can think of Samsung's prices for its 2017 QLED TVs as sort of a starting bid. It's very high, but it could fall soon. How soon, you ask?
Above you see an example from last year courtesy of camelcamelcamel.com: the price history of the UN65KS8000 SUHD TV, which in terms of features is generally similar to the Q7F series QLED TV. It started at $2,800 and fell to a low of $1,500, a reduction of 46 percent. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2017 65-inch Q7F followed the same trajectory, for a low price of about $1,900.
You might point out that in 2016 LG's OLED TVs fell further -- the 65-inch B6 went from $6,500 to $2,800, a drop of 57 percent. But the 2017 TVs are starting from a much lower initial price. The the 65-inch C7 OLED starts at $4,500, and I'd be really surprised if by fall 2017 you could get one for less than $2,000. Maybe $2,500.
It's worth mentioning that all these price prognostications are my own only, and I've been wrong before.
Updated February 24 with official 2017 LG OLED pricing.