It's been a long wait, but Australians can finally get their hands on a 4K OLED TV, with Korean electronics giant LG launching its curved EG960T range locally, priced at AU$9,999 for the 65-inch model and AU$5,999 for 55-inches.
Ultra HD, also known as 4K, refers to a screen resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 which is greater than the current Full HD standard of 1,920 x 1080. Ultra HD TVs have dropped in price over the past few years and 4K is fast becoming the standard: LG says that for 2015 66 percent of its range will be 4K while rival Samsung is at 70 percent.
OLED, on the other hand, is a new panel technology that differs significantly from LED or LCD TVs. OLED allows for the individual pixels to be turned on and off rather than just dimmed, which makes for significantly deeper blacks, aiding colour contrast and creating a brighter and more vivid image.
Both LG and Samsung have shown off OLED TVs in Ultra HD at trade shows, but LG is the first to bring a model to market in Australia. The company hyped its EC970T 4K OLED last year in October, but it never eventuated in Australia. LG's home entertainment marketing manager Grant Vandenberg said that the demand for the EC970T around world lead to Australia missing out.
"We launched in select markets the demand for that product really swallowed up the stock so we elected to wait for a while before looking at Australia," Vandenberg said. "In that time period they updated the model and that's what we've got here."
The curved screen EG960T will initially be available in a "select run" of 38 Harvey Norman stores before expanding to other retailers later in the year. The TV features the WebOS 2.0 smart TV operating system, a slimline design and the same Harmon/Kardon sound and six-step upscaler we've seen in the UF950T . It also supports the VP9 and HEVC 4K video standards, as well as FreeviewPlus.
The EG960T is essentially the same as the EG9600 model currently in the US. CNET's TV reviewer David Katzmaier dubbed it the , saying that it delivered "the best picture quality we've ever tested".
Compared with the US price tag, Australia seems to be getting the EG960T for almost bargain basement prices. In the US the 65EG9600 was originally listed at $8,999, which is roughly AU$12,000 and the 55EG9600 is $5,499 or AU$7,300. However a recent price drop has seen the 65-inch model reduced to $6,999 or around AU$9,500.
According to Vandenberg, OLED TVs have proven popular locally, with LG selling 6,000 of its Full HD curved OLED, the 55EC930T. Vanderberg said that in March the company was selling AU$1,000,000 a month worth of OLED TVs, with that figure doubling in June.
Overall, the 4K TV market is up 262 percent year-on-year in Australia and OLED is up 500 percent, with LG confidant that the EG970T will spur even further growth.
"We believe this TV plants a stake in the ground for how TV is defined in this category," Vandenberg said.
Update July 8 at 12.06 p.m. AEST: Amended US pricing on 65EG9600.