LG OLED AFP  670
This handout photo provided by LG Electronics and taken on January 2, 2013 shows South Korean models posing with LG Electronics' new 55-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) television in Seoul. South Korean home appliance giant LG Electronics said it has started receiving pre-orders for its 55-inch OLED TVs in South Korea.  - AFP Photo

SEOUL, Jan 2, 2013 - South Korea's LG Electronics launched Wednesday sales of its new television using a next-generation display that the company hopes will drive growth against giant rival Samsung.

The electronics giant began accepting pre-orders for the TV that features an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, in the world's first commercial sales of such TV sets.

OLED TVs don't require separate backlights and thus are thinner, consume about 20 percent less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat-panel sets.

The LG OLED model, 55 inches wide but just 0.16 inches (four mm) thick, was crowned best gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, trumping a similar-size Samsung set.

“We will launch the OLED TV in North America, Europe and elsewhere in Asia in the first quarter to secure a leading position in this next-generation TV market,” the company said in a statement.

The TV comes with a whopping price tag of 11 million won ($10,357), as manufacturers still struggle to cut the cost of mass-producing the delicate panels.

Samsung Electronics aims to start sales of its own OLED TVs later this year, although OLED displays are already used on its popular Galaxy S and Note smartphones.

Struggling Japanese TV giants Sony and Panasonic also teamed up last year to jointly develop OLED panels in a bid to catch up with the South Korean competitors.

Market researcher DisplaySearch estimated global sales of OLED TVs in 2013 would reach around 50,000 units and increase sharply to more than 7.0 million units in 2016.

“Sony and Panasonic last year teamed up for joint development but they are nearly two years behind in terms of the technological gap with us,” LG said.


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