And so begins the curved OLED TV craze here in the States.
Grab your purses and wallets quick, as that groovy curved LG OLED TV we drooled over during CES 2013 back in January has finally arrived in the States. The 55 inch curved beauty, aka the Model 55EA9800, was formally introduced to Americans at a VIP launch event on Monday at Best Buy's flagship Magnolia Design Center store in Richfield, Minn. It now retails for a hearty $14,999.99, or the price of a decent small car.
The curved OLED TV will first be sold only at that specific Best Buy location. In the coming weeks, Magnolia stores inside Best Buy in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and San Antonio will display and begin selling the thin new premium TV. It will then be rolled out to select Magnolia outlets inside Best Buy locations nationwide over the summer.
The LG CURVED OLED TV measures just 0.17 inches thin and weighs less than 38 pounds. It features LG's proprietary WRGB four-color pixel system which adds a white sub-pixel that works in conjunction with conventional red, green and blue pixels. It also sports LG's exclusive Color Refiner that delivers even greater tonal enhancements, and THX Display Certification, making LG's solution the world's first OLED TV to receive this special certification for high quality.
"With its gently curved screen, the new LG CURVED OLED TV represents a unique design statement for discerning high-end consumers," the company said. "This represents the first major design change in the industry since the widespread introduction of flat-panel TVs to the consumer marketplace more than a decade ago. With more than five years of research behind developing the optimal curvature, the LG CURVED OLED TV delivers an IMAX-like viewing experience in the home."
Meanwhile, competing HDTV maker Samsung is reportedly shipping its own 55 inch Curved OLED TV solution to the States this week. While we haven't seen an official announcement, Value Electronics owner Robert Zohn told CNET that shipments are on the way, and that he believes he'll be the first retailer to sell the Samsung Curved OLED TV, the KN55S9, in the United States. He even has a dedicated website that offers a promo sheet (pdf) and product details.
Towards the end of June, Samsung began selling its Curved OLED TV in Korea for $13,410 USD (KRW 15 million). The company said the design was inspired by a "Timeless Arena" featuring a luxurious frame whose curved shape mirrors the curvature of an arena. Thanks to this design, the OLED TV keeps the distance between the viewer and TV screen the same from almost any angle, the company said.
Samsung also said users will see true black, and two different live TV programs simultaneously thanks to the company's Multi View technology. This is accomplished by using two sets of 3D glasses which allows one viewer to watch one program and another to watch something completely different. Typically these glasses will flash two altered but similar frames of the same program to create a 3D effect.
"Samsung’s Curved OLED TV is also compatible with the Evolution Kit ensuring that the TV is future-proofed and updates allowing the viewer to enjoy the benefits of the latest features that Samsung has to offer, completing Samsung’s ‘future-proof’ premium TV lineup that includes this year’s flagship Smart TVs and UHD TVs," the company said.
Now that LG has officially launched its Curved OLED TV at Best Buy, we expect to see Samsung make an official announcement any minute now regarding pricing and availability here in the States. For now, we'll have to take CNET and Value Electronics at their word regarding Samsung's delivery this week.