LG starts taking pre-orders in South Korea for 55-inch OLED TV

The US$10,320 TV will start shipping in February

LG Electronics will begin accepting pre-orders for its 55-inch OLED TV in South Korea this month with deliveries scheduled to begin in February.

The company plans to announce over the next several weeks information on other markets where the device will be sold and the pricing.

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens are thinner than current LCDs (liquid crystal displays) and PDPs (plasma display panels). They offer images that are brighter and more vibrant, and they handle fast-moving images like sports better.

But although these screens have been used for handheld devices like smartphones, larger versions used in TVs have proven to be expensive. LG said its 55-inch OLED TV will start selling in South Korea through retail stores at 11 million won, or about US$10,320.

The announcement by LG comes ahead of the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas which starts Jan. 8, and aims to give the company a lead over competitors like Samsung which is also expected to start shipping its 55-inch OLED TV. LG displayed an early version of the 55-inch OLED TV at CES last year.

Following 55-inch OLED TV demonstrations at CES last year, commercial products were expected in time for the Olympics in August. But the possibility of commercialization in 2012 was called into question because of mass production challenges and anticipated high retail prices, research firm DisplaySearch said in November. By 2016, OLED penetration of the TV market is forecast to exceed 3 percent, it said.

More than 1,400 LG retail stores in South Korea will begin accepting orders from consumers for the TVs starting Jan. 3 with delivery to commence in the first week of February, LG said Wednesday.

LG's OLED TVs are said to be only 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) thin and weigh less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds), the company said in a statement. LG's Four-Color Pixel system features a white sub-pixel which works in conjunction with the conventional red, blue, green setup to create a "perfect color output," it added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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