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LG's curved $15K OLED TV available for U.S. preorder now

LG has announced that its curved OLED TV, model 55EA9800, will be the first OLED TV in the U.S.

LG's 55EM9800 will be available for preorder starting today at a price of $14,999. LG

LG was the first manufacturer to ship large-screen OLED TV to Korea and Europe, and today the company claims "first" for its U.S. model.

The LG 55EA9800, a 55-inch OLED TV with a curved screen, will be available for preorder today at a price of $14,999. According to James Fishler, senior vice president of marketing, it will ship to the homes of the people who placed orders "within a couple of weeks."

In this country, LG's OLED TV is selling exclusively at select Magnolia stores inside Best Buy. LG made its announcement at the Richfield, Minn., flagship store, and the TV will also be available starting today from stores in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and San Antonio. The set will roll out to additional Magnolias over the summer.

The claim of "first" obviously means big bragging rights to LG, but news of Samsung's own imminent arrival to the U.S. market came earlier today.

(Update August 16: The Samsung KN55S9C has been released in the U.S. as well, for a price of $8999. Check out our in-depth hands-on here).

When asked about the timing of Samsung's product release, LG's Fishler replied, "We're tremendously confident we'll be the first in the U.S. to release [an OLED TV]." He wouldn't specify how many LG 55EA9800's would make it stateside, citing "competitive reasons."

The 55EM9800 has a gently curved screen. LG

Fishler said the company went with the curved version for the U.S. launch because of "tremendous interest" in the exotic design. LG's flat 55-inch OLED TV, meanwhile, is selling in Korea and Europe alongside its concave linemate. Fishler wouldn't specify timing on a flat release to the US market, saying only that an announcement thereof wouldn't come "in the next 30 days."

At 4.3 mm thin and 38 pounds, the 55EA9800 is exceedingly thin and light compared with plasma and LED LCD TVs, and promises superior picture quality to the best examples of either one. It uses LG's proprietary WRGB technology with an unconventional subpixel structure LG claims improves longevity while not compromising the image. It's also the first OLED TV to achieve THX Display certification.

LG's release claims the curved screen delivers an "IMAX-like viewing experience in the home." The slight curve is said to fill the viewer's field of vision better than a flat panel, although we're skeptical for many reasons.

Naturally the 55EA9800 offers up LG's standard spate of additional features, including Smart TV, the company's unique Magic Motion remote, voice and gesture recognition, and passive 3D.

We've asked LG for a review sample.