LG to sell OLED TVs for more than $9,000 in U.S.

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LG to sell OLED TVs for more than $9,000 in U.S.

LG Electronics, the world’s No. 2 television maker, plans to sell 55-inch sets using the new OLED technology for more than $9,000 in the United States, two people with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

The price is higher than that predicted by analysts for IHS Inc.’s iSuppli and NPD Group’s DisplaySearch, who expected the sets to sell for about $8,000 when they debut later this year. LG can’t charge less for the organic light-emitting diode TVs because production costs are too high, one of the people said. The people declined to be identified because the price hasn’t been disclosed publicly.

LG and its bigger competitor Samsung Electronics are trying to rebound from stagnating sales of liquid-crystal- display TVs by adopting OLED technology. The OLED sets modeled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year were as thin as 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) and produced sharper images than LCD models.

LG hasn’t made a decision on pricing yet, Im Seung-kyoo, a spokesman for the Seoul-based company, said by phone.

Samsung, which also plans to start selling 55-inch OLED sets this year, yesterday said its models will cost at least double the 5.4 million won ($4,700) price tag of the most expensive flat-screen TVs of similar size in Korea.

Shipments of OLED TVs may total about 50,000 units this year and reach 5 million by 2015, according to Paul Semenza, senior vice president of analyst services at Santa Clara, California-based DisplaySearch.

LG has dropped 3.8 percent in Seoul trading this year, compared with a 5 percent gain for the benchmark Kospi index and a 23 percent climb for Samsung.

OLED TVs can be thinner than Apple Inc.’s iPad because they use organically glowing materials to display images without the need for separate backlights required in LCD models.

LG Display, a flat-screen making affiliate of LG Electronics, has a capacity to produce 48,000 OLED TV panels a month, Chief Financial Officer James Jeong said last month.

Samsung and LG employ different OLED technologies. Samsung uses red, green and blue OLED materials inside individual pixels to create images, while LG uses white light and an extra color filter.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics said on Thursday it would start selling televisions using organic light-emitting diodes in the second half as it seeks to gain leadership in the next-generation TV market.

Sales will start in South Korea before global shipments begin and the first models will cost at least twice as much as the most expensive flat-screen sets of comparable size, according to Samsung.


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