Ultra high-definition TV takes turn for the high-end

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Ultra high-definition TV takes turn for the high-end


Left: Models introduce the nation’s No. 2 mobile carrier KT’s set-top box for Olleh GiGA UHD TV service, on which users will be able to access UHD content starting Sept. 1. Right: LG Electronics launches the world’s first OLED TV with UHD resolution and a curved panel, which will be available in two sizes: 77 and 65 inches. Provided by each company

A resolution revolution is taking place in the TV market, and LG is playing a part by introducing an ultra high-definition (UHD) TV with upgraded display panel, and an IPTV operator has also announced UHD services.

LG Electronics yesterday launched the world’s first UHD OLED TV, which has 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution to counter Samsung’s UHD TV.

Unlike the LCD panels Samsung Electronics and other TV makers use, LG has been focusing on the organic LED panel because the company says that the technology is superior. The new product is the first UHD TV with OLED panels.

“LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation’s TV market,” said Ha Hyun-hwoi, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry. I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer.”

Although the LG 4K OLED TV is expensive, Ha said the company will continue its work to lower the price of OLEDs.

LG’s OLED TV is curved and comes in two sizes: 77 and 65 inches. The 65-inch Curved UHD OLED TV costs 12 million won ($11,760), which is less than last year’s 55-inch Full-HD OLED TV, which cost 15 million won. But, since UHD LCD TVs are selling for 1 million won, LG is concerned with price competitiveness.

“Considering that the new TV has increased by 10 inches and has four times higher resolution [than last year’s high-end model], we believe that the price is exceptional,” said Ha.

“As the price of the 55-inch Full-HD OLED TV has declined to 4 million won, we will continue to enhance the price competitiveness of our 65- and 77-inch OLED TVs.”

LG’s 4K OLED TV’s display panel features the company’s Four-Color Pixel WRGB technology.

“With 33 million sub-pixels working to produce the most lifelike colors and infinite contrast ratio, viewers will feel like they’re watching reality,” said a spokesman for LG Electronics at the press conference.

The company also emphasized the multi-channel Ultra Surround sound system, which was designed to match the TV’s superior image quality. The sound system was created in cooperation with audio company Harman-Kardon to heighten the viewer’s sense of immersion.

LG’s 4K OLED TV also won an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and uses the company’s webOS platform.

WebOS’s features were developed around the concepts of Simple Connection, Simple Switching and Simple Discovery.

WebOS was recently recognized by the prestigious European Imaging and Sound Association for its intuitive user interface.

“OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG,” Ha added.

“OLED’s benefits are obvious. There’s no deterioration in picture quality and issues such as image blurring, distortion and color leakage in curved LED units are simply non-existent in curved OLED TVs.”

“4K OLED TV represents superb value for the consumer in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail and viewing angles.”

LG will begin taking pre-orders for its 4K OLED TVs in Korea this week, and orders in North America and Europe will start soon after.

Visitors to the IFA exhibition in Berlin can see LG’s 4K OLED TVs from Sept. 5-10.

As UHD TV competition heightens among electronics companies, KT, the nation’s No. 2 mobile carrier, said it is launching a UHD TV broadcast service, the first of its kind.

The Olleh GiGA UHD TV service will be available in Korea starting Sept. 1.

“We began the move to create and activate UHD contents by launching the set-top type UHD service,” said Nam Kyu-taek, vice president of KT’s marketing division. “Customers will be able to get all the advantages of an expensive UHD TV.”

Olleh TV secured UHD-only channels and plans to secure UHD content of 500 recent films, including animations and documentaries, and overseas TV programs by the end of this year.

The UHD TV set-top box can be rented for 4,000 won a month with a three-year contract.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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