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Are OLED TVs a reasonable prospect?

Steven Kim

With all the great things we hear about OLED TVs, it's understandable to think that the next display technology is here. Ultra-thin dimensions, eye-popping contrast ratio and low power consumption, what's not to like? The technology does have some big uncertainties, however. According to the link, the most significant isn't display lifetime, but market potential. DisplaySearch projects huge growth for OLED TVs, with a market of $37 million in 2008 to $884 million in 2011. That would outpace the predicted 15% growth in LCD TV demand over the same period. Rosy for OLED, right? Not so fast -- the total market for LCD in 2011 is expected to be $92 billion (with a "b"). When considering these projections, it's easy to see why the president of Samsung SDI says OLEDs are "ideal for portable displays," but holds off on making any TV display commitments. The fact that Sony is committed to producing a set makes OLED more promising than some other next-gen technologies, but we're not throwing out our plasmas and LCDs yet.

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