Samsung First OLED TV that Cost $9,000

Today Samsung announced that its first production OLED TV, the curved 55-inch KN55S9C, is shipping now to specialty dealers in the U.S. for $9,000. It will be the second curved, 55-inch OLED TV for sale in this country, hot on the heels of one from rival LG.

Samsung’s price, despite being exorbitantly high, undercuts that of LG by around six grand. Given that disparity, and the heat of the two companies’ rivalry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see LG match Samsung’s price soon.

Thanks to those “absolute blacks,” which I’ve seen in person on preproduction models, I expect both LG’s and Samsung’s OLED TVs to deliver better picture quality than anything currently available. But I have no idea whether the two companies’ different approaches to subpixel structure will make one appreciably better than the other.

As Samsung’s “no color filter required” dig points out, LG’s approach to OLED subpixels is relatively unconventional. LG is using RGBW OLED: red, green, and blue OLEDs, stacked in a sandwich. This creates white light that shines out through red, green, blue, and white/clear (RGBW) filters. If this seems convoluted, according to LG there are actually significant benefits for longevity and manufacturing, historically the two biggest impediments to OLED being in your home right now.

Samsung’s approach is just like what’s used for the vast majority of LED LCD and plasma TVs, employing traditional RGB subpixels. Here’s a comparison of the two from LG:

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