OLED Vs LCD: The TV Tech Battlefield

LG takes the cutting edge TV fight to Samsung

LG's new flat OLED 4K TVs are now much more affordable than we'd expected them to be this year.

If there’s one thing that pretty much everybody who’s seen OLED technology in action can agree on, it’s that it has the performance potential to be the future of television. Thanks to its self-emissive nature - where each of its pixels is able to produce its own light and colour information without interference from any neighbouring pixels - it’s capable of delivering levels of contrast, shadow detailing and colour response that you just can’t get from any current rival screen technologies. Especially since the ‘death’ of plasma.

Time and again visitors to AV technology shows around the world have had the chance to ogle what OLED is capable of, and a few OLED TVs have even gone on sale. Unfortunately, though, becoming the proud owner of an OLED TV has so far required you to also be the proud owner of a seriously healthy bank balance, as long-running problems with producing large OLED screens in mass market quantities have stopped prices from dropping nearly as quickly as those of LCD TVs

OLED finally becomes affordable. Sort of

So significant has the OLED price hike been that it’s threatened to see this promising technology sliding back into the annals of TV history. But now LG - which has for the past two years being the only big brand persevering with OLED technology as a genuine market proposition - has suddenly put OLED well and truly back in the game by announcing some truly drastic price cuts for its latest OLED TV range.

As covered in a previous story, this impressively specified OLED range includes a welcome mix of 4K UHD, HD, flat and curved models. There’s certainly plenty of variety in LG's range to help attract a wide range of consumers to the OLED cause, so it feels like a truly significant moment to find this OLED range now getting priced at a level that for the first time pitches them in competition with LCD TVs. Albeit only the most high-end LCD TVs.

The details

Let’s look first at the EF9500 series. These are LG’s first flat-screened OLED TVs, and boast a 4K UHD native resolution and LG’s excellent webOS smart TV system. You can now get the 55-inch 55EF9500 for just $2,999 versus its originally quoted price of $5,499. This represents a mammoth 45% off, made up of a permanent $1,500 price cut plus a further promotional $1,000 ‘instant rebate’ you get at the point of purchase as part of an offer LG’s running until the end of the year. Samsung’s 55-inch UN55JS9000 LCD TV, by comparison, costs $2,499 at the time of writing.

If you want something bigger, meanwhile, the 65-inch 65EF9500 is now going for $4,999 including the rebate, rather than the originally announced priced of $6,999. Samsung’s 65-inch UN65JS9500  LCD TV (reviewed here) costs $4,500.

For those who like curves

If you like curved screens (you can find the pros and cons of these here) then you’ll likely be looking at LG’s 4K UHD EG9600 models. The 55-inch 55EG9600 is now going for $2,999 with the rebate included ($3,999 after the rebate promotion runs out), while the 65-9inch 65EG9600 is now $4,999 with the rebate. These prices compare with at-launch prices of $5,499 and $6,999 respectively, and as with the flat TVs put them into the same price ballpark as Samsung’s premium SUHD TV models.

The last set to figure in LG’s latest push to make OLED mass market is the 55-inch 55EG9100. This full HD model doesn’t benefit from a permanent price cut, but you can get a $500 rebate on it as part of the current promotion. This is particularly significant because it makes one of LG’s latest OLED TVs available for under $2,000.