LG's $12K OLED TV ships in March

The company will be the first to ship a mass-produced large-screen OLED television, which will cost around $12,000. It starts in South Korea in February, then hits US shores in March.

David Katzmaier
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David runs CNET's home entertainment division, where he leads a team that covers TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home audio. If he doesn't know something about the gear you use to keep yourself entertained at home, it's not worth knowing.

Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.

LG's 55EM9700, which measures 0.16 inch thick, will be the first large-screen OLED TV available for sale. Sarah Tew/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Today LG announced it would make the first 55-inch OLED TV available to the public in the Unites States this March for a cost of around $12,000.

The announcement follows one made January 2, when the company said the TV would hit South Korea first in February. I expect LG too announce additional markets for the futuristic TV, such as Europe, soon.

The television, model 55EM9700, is the successor to the 55EM9600 that "="" rel="follow">won CNET's highest honor at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2012 but never actually shipped.

The two TVs are similar in every important way. An LG spokesman today told CNET that the company is still not certain which version it will ship to the US, but that it will likely have a separate external media box and a very similar industrial design to the EM9600 (pictured above and in the slideshow below). That's different from the all-in-one design with the red-tinted stand shown in the video below.

Promising revolutionary picture quality in an incredibly slim design, LG's 55-inch OLED TV might be worth the wait. At only 0.16 inch thick, it's the thinnest TV we've ever heard of, and about half as thick as the OLED Samsung announced last year. LG integrates carbon fiber-reinforced plastics into the rear of the television, which provides reinforcement and keeps the weight down to a feathery 22 pounds.

Beyond its striking thinness, OLED has the potential to outperform any current flat-panel display technology. CNET Asia's Philip Wong got a hands-on look at the EM9600 and said it had the "deepest blacks we've seen among flat-screen TVs."

LG 55EM9600 OLED TV (CNET Asia pictures)

See all photos

While the public may remember Sony's 11-inch XEL-1 from a couple of years ago, and be familiar with the AMOLED screens of various cell phones and the PlayStation Vita, LG's 55-inch OLED TV features a unique spin on the technology that involves a fourth "white" subpixel. The TV has a white pixel layer with a color RGB filter over the top, and the fourth pixel is left unfiltered. In comparison, Samsung's ES9500 uses native red, green, and blue OLED pixels.

Samsung's TV uses actual red, green, and blue OLED subpixels (left) while LG's TV uses white OLEDs overlaid by a filter. LG

LG says the TV uses a proprietary algorithm designed to improve and refine hues and tones when viewed from a wide angle. According to LG, other OLED TVs "exhibit drastic changes in hues from different viewing angles and abnormal color gamut." CNET Asia's Wong noted "negligible color shift when viewing a scene directly in front of the panel compared with viewing it from the sides."

The set will include all of LG's new 2013 Smart TV bells and whistles, including the new Magic Motion remote with voice control, and passive 3D.

With a U.S. ship date of March, we eagerly await the opportunity to give the TV a thorough review. Stay tuned.

CES Video
Watch this: LG's $12K OLED TV ships in March

Updated January 9 with additional info from LG.

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