Aug. 13, 2013 at 12:53 PM ET
Samsung threw competitors a curve ball Wednesday by introducing a 55-inch, curved OLED TV for $9,000, six thousand dollars less than a similar model by LG now available in the U.S.
The 55-inch KN55S9C's curved screen is supposed to give viewers a "captivating and vibrant picture that envelops viewers in spectacular color and beauty," Samsung said in a news release after it unveiled the TV in New York.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) TVs are the future for TV manufacturers; the screens produce very bright, highly saturated images, with light emitted directly from the screen's surface.
LCD-based displays (even ones called "LED TVs") have light bulbs beneath the panel, so light comes from behind, and passes through a layer that creates the picture. Because of this, most of the light is beamed toward viewers who sit closest to the center of the screen, says Gary Merson, editor of HD Guru. OLEDs extend the viewing angle to 180 degrees without any dimming or loss of contrast that most of us see with LCD and LED displays.
Consumer Reports weighed in Wednesday to call the TV "arguably the best all-around TV we've ever tested, with the highest overall picture-quality scores and no major shortcomings — except, perhaps, its steep $9,000 price. Still, that's much less than the $13,500 price disclosed when it was introduced earlier in Korea, and significantly below the current $15,000 retail price tag of LG's comparably sized 55EA9800 set, which we're hoping to test shortly."
Samsung is also touting the TV's "MultiView feature," which is "like having two TVs in one. For the first time, two people can simultaneously watch completely different full-screen, full-HD content, even in 3-D, on the same display, with corresponding audio and controls," the company says.
To use MultiView, viewers will need to wear Samsung's 3-D Active glasses, which come with built-in personal speakers. It will be easy for viewers to switch between the MultView and single view with just the "touch of a button, without changing glasses."
The TV is being shipped now to U.S. retailers.