CES - Samsung to show 14, 31-inch OLEDs, quad-HD prototype TV

Samsung will unveil 14-inch and 31-inch OLED TV prototypes and an LCD TV with four times the resolution of today's TV sets at CES.

Samsung Electronics unveiled Sunday two ultra-thin TVs and a prototype LCD (liquid crystal display) TV with four times the definition of today's most advanced high-definition sets.

The ultra-thin TVs are based on OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology and boast 14-inch and 31-inch screen sizes, the company said in a statement distributed in South Korea.

OLED technology is being fiercely developed by many TV makers because it offers a brighter, more vivid picture than today's LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. And because OLED pixels emit their own light, a backlight isn't required, meaning OLED TVs use less power and are also much thinner.

That thinness was a big contributor to the success of the world's first consumer OLED TV, Sony's XEL-1 set that went on sale in Japan in December and promptly sold-out despite a relatively expensive YEN 200,000 (AU$2,112) price tag. The Sony set is just 3 millimeters thick, which is less than a tenth that of current LCD TVs.

Samsung previously demonstrated its 14-inch OLED prototype last year but the 31-inch is new. It's also the largest OLED TV panel yet shown by a TV maker so promises to be a star of the International Consumer Electronics Show.

At the show Samsung will also unveil a prototype LCD TV that boasts a resolution of 3,840 pixels by 2,160 pixels -- that's double the vertical and horizontal resolution of a current "Full HD" TV set.

The display is therefore expected to offer a crisper, clearer picture than is possible with today's TVs but could take a while to be commercialized because no broadcasters have concrete plans to launch higher resolution services.

Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, is one of a number of organizations researching next-generation HDTV and has demonstrated many times a "Super Hi-Vision" service that offers an even higher resolution than the Samsung prototype TV. The service has 7,680 pixels by 4,320 pixels and isn't expected to launch commercially until sometime in the next decade.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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