Curved screens may be the way of the future

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Curved screens may be the way of the future


Left: An OLED TV with a curved screen is displayed at Samsung’s CES booth in Las Vegas. Right: A model poses with three curved OLED TVs at LG’s booth at the trade show. Provided by the companies

LAS VEGAS - Both Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics unveiled the world’s first curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) televisions here on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

The surprise announcement again widens the technological gap with other TV makers, including Sony, which a day earlier unveiled a never-seen-before prototype of the world’s first ultra high-definition OLED TV.

At last year’s CES, Samsung and LG both introduced 55-inch OLED TVs for the first time in the world, albeit based on different mechanisms. This year, Samsung has the largest exhibition space at the annual tech fair.

While LG put the large OLED sets on Korean shelves on Jan. 2, Samsung is playing catch-up and plans to do so by the end of the first half as it wrestles with unprofitably low production yields for the 55-inch panels.

Samsung said the new curved TV will make its commercial debut at the same time as the 55-inch OLED screen. LG said it will begin selling its own curved TV by the end of 2013.

In explaining the attraction of the curved screen, Kim Hyun-suk, executive vice president of the Samsung flagship, said: “When the distance from the viewer’s eyes to the screen is identical, regardless of the angle, the viewer can watch TV with more comfort.”

The curved display marks another technological step forward from its flexible counterpart, which both Samsung and LG have long been publicly developing. LG Display said on Monday it would start mass producing flexible displays in the latter half of the year.

If the curved OLED displays are made larger, the TV can offer an experience closer to that of an IMAX cinema screen, offering a more dynamic and vivid viewing experience, Samsung’s Kim said, adding that there are no technological barriers to upgrading the size.

Jang Moon-ik, director of LG’s TV business, told reporters the company expects curved OLED TVs to make up a large share of the next-generation TV market and LG intends to diversify screen sizes.

The curved TVs are unlikely to be cheap, although neither producer released anticipated prices. LG’s 55-inch OLED TV retails for 11 million won ($10,348) in Korea.

By Seo Ji-eun []

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