When will we see another OLED HDTV? LG says soon, but others are less optimistic

If you've ever been fortunate enough to see an OLED TV in action, you know why some folks keep waiting for them like an electronic Godot: great image quality, super-slim, and highly energy efficient. But save for an 11-inch Sony model that sold for north of $2,500 a few years back, we haven't seen another OLED HDTV reach these shores, though prototypes have been exhibited at trade shows.

If you've ever been fortunate enough to see an OLED TV in action, you know why some folks keep waiting for them like an electronic Godot: great image quality, super-slim, and highly energy efficient. But save for an 11-inch Sony model that sold for north of $2,500 a few years back, we haven't seen another OLED HDTV reach these shores, though prototypes have been exhibited at trade shows.

So when will TV manufacturers provide the next taste of OLED goodness? Depending on whom you ask, it's either just around the corner -- or still a few years away. An LG exec revealed this week that you may see a 55-inch OLED set from the company as soon as the second half of 2012; he also took a swipe at Samsung for focusing on OLED screens for smaller mobile devices instead of larger displays.

The inevitable rumors then followed: LG is making the TV for Apple, who some analysts believe will start selling HDTVs in the near future. The problem with such conjecture is that the price for a 55-inch OLED, even if it's cheaper-per-inch than Sony's discontinued OLED set, would still be too prohibitive to reach a mainstream audience at launch -- unless there's been a radical reduction in manufacturing costs being kept under wraps.

According to another industry source, that's not the case. An exec for display manufacturer AU Optronics (AUO) also talked OLED this week, and poured some cold water on LG's plans. He said that costs haven't come down enough, and yields haven't risen enough, to expect commercial production until 2014. The many promised OLED TVs that have become vaporware over the years suggest that we should be taking the "over" on this bet, but maybe LG will prove the naysayers wrong.

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