OLED TV: is it time?


I’ve been waiting to skip the LCD generation since I got a plasma set in 2008 that I like a lot.

I’ve been hearing good things about OLED lately, and seeing this:

In my extended review at Reference Home Theater, I call it “the best looking TV I’ve ever reviewed.” But we aren’t alone in loving the E6. Vincent Teoh at HDTVtest writes, “We’re not even going to qualify the following endorsement: if you can afford it, this is the TV to buy.” Rtings.com gave the E6 OLED the highest score of any TV the site has ever tested. Reviewed.com awarded it a 9.9 out of 10, with only the LG G6 OLED (which offers the same image but better styling and sound for $2,000 more) coming out ahead.

… sure do make a man want to push a buy button something fierce!

  • I’ve been wanting to upsize slightly from the 1080p 46" Panasonic TH46PZ85U plasma to 55".

  • 4k is interesting, too, but probably more of a tech demo than anything else for me at this point.

  • We do use our primary TV a ton, so hearing “makes everything look better” is … tempting.

I guess the only reason not to upgrayedd is if some kind of super-improved OLED is coming in a year or two? Or if prices will drop by 50% in the next two years?


I am mostly curious about lifetime. If it won’t last 10+ years without substantial loss of brightness or screen quality, it’s not for me.


Spelunking the Internet provides this:

The MFG warranty is 1 year parts and 1 year labor. The life expectancy of LG OLED is 30K hours to 50K hours to half brightness. Only coming from the use/on time of the panel; not from being off. That is 7 days a week, 6 hrs a day to reach 14.5 years to 20 years to half brightness. If a customer watches the TV in Vivid mode they will be closer to the 14.5 year number. If the customer has the OLED calibrated (or run in Cinema mode) they will be at the 20 year to half brightness level. Calibration is not only good for panel life but picture quality also; it is a win win! 2016 models will have substantially increased hours that can not be released until product ships, but I expect them to be brighter


The general rule of thumb is do not leave a static image on the screen for more than 60 minutes; but that can vary depending on the intensity and color of the image. There is no way to fix burn-in once it is at that point. 2016 models will have a picture quality recovery system build into the panels to reduce image retention before it becomes burn-in.

My plasma has that pixel rotation / shifting feature and I’ve never seen any kind of burn-in on it. Presumably they’ve mastered the art of shifting the display to prevent burn-in at this point, since OLEDs were available since 2013.

Assuming you watch TV for five hours a day every day, taking the conservative 30k hour number to half brightness, that’s 16.4 years.

The argument for waiting

You can probably expect to see more affordable OLED models. In just two years the price of a 55-inch OLED has fallen from $10,000 to $1,800. A model with support for Ultra HD, HDR, and WCG has been selling for $3,000 this fall. Prices won’t continue to drop at that rate, but it is reasonable to expect that in another two years they’ll be selling for much closer to what an LCD costs today. If everything else is equal (resolution, screen size, curved vs. non-curved) then we’d recommend OLED tech for most people because the image really is that much better than LCD.

I looked it up and I paid $1500 for my 47" plasma in 2008 dollars.


Huh, it must have been the E6 or G6 I saw in the shop the other week. I was just walking through to pick up some new headphones and usually pay no attention to the TV section but the screen quality just stood the hell out. My girlfriend also remarked on how much better it looked than anything else there. We were both like ‘Oh, it’s OLED, that explains those crazy blacks.’

HDTVtest is my go-to site for TV reviews (mostly because I use my TV as a PC monitor and HDTVtest is one of the few sites that says whether given TVs support 4:4:4 chroma) so if Teoh is voting yes, that’s promising. I’m not tempted at the current prices but I’ll be keeping an eye on them. We had a Samsung panel utterly fail a month or two after the warranty expired and I’m still really salty about that, not least because I’ve reinstated an old but trusty Sony 32" Bravia LCD from the PS3 era in the meantime. I’ve got a more recent set for my PC but we’re effectively a modern screen down now.

I’d not hear of rtings before but they seem to have TVs as monitors covered. Good to know. Bookmarked.


Similar, I paid about $1250 for a 47" LED in early 2009 (7 years old already!), but I think I can wait a few more years until I need a replacement. Assuming the gods of backlighting agree.


I’m waiting until at least Black Friday or early-2017 fire sales before considering a 4K TV (OLED or otherwise).

Right now seems like a pretty poor time to buy one considering we’re only a few months from the holidays.


Prices will certainly come down. They were $6k last year and $15k in like 2013. How fast, who knows? If you’re price-sensitive you should certainly wait, at the very minimum until a normal TV sale time like black friday or the month after the super bowl.


Sure – but how low can they go from $3500? Looks like $500 is the baseline for a “cheap” 55 inch LCD TV these days (wow that’s cheap). I guess I’d expect about $1000 per year drop at this point?


Could cut in half this year, it’s all about new manufacturing techniques and economy of scale. OLED is very popular for cellphones as black pixels aren’t lit at all, consuming zero battery.

It truly is shocking how cheap LCDs are these days, isn’t it? SSDs too.


Yeah, but it is highly suspicious how there are literally ZERO PC monitors with OLED. Like… zero … zero. So I wouldn’t count on this “cutting in half in a year” if I were you. We’ll see!


Pshaw http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/758921-REG/Sony_BVM_E250_BVM_E250_Trimaster_EL_OLED.html


Yeah like I said… zero 😋


I’m kind of annoyed we have to think about burn-in again, even if they’ve learned to manage it for the most part.


Probably only an issue if you have plans to keep your set for 10+ years. I know I won’t. The early 2013-2014-2015 adopter issues have been worked out, I feel. This is “version 3.0”.


You should get one and post updates.

I want the ultra wide version :)


Dell has an OLED monitor too. Super expensive though.


Yeah I found that – it is $5k for a 30 inch display.


Also, LOL still not actually available despite that announcement being from March!

Apparently for monitors it is a slightly different tech, RGB OLED vs LG WOLED?


Be interesting to see at what point Vizio jumps into OLED.


Well, if we’re still talking TVs, LG’s 4K OLED 2015 models have come down to 50% in a little less than a year. So I’d say it’s a safe bet that the (201)6 series will do the same. That’s what I’m waiting and hoping for, at least, in order to get the reduced lag and both flavors of HDR support. Plus, waiting gives me time to save up the dough.

I don’t see them cutting in half this year, though. From what I’ve read, the high end TVs (like OLEDs) aren’t the ones that get the big cuts on Black Friday. The other best times to buy, according to the common wisdom, are around the Super Bowl and after the new models have been released in early-mid Spring. However, I’ve been monitoring the price of the 2015 LGs for ten months or so, and some of the best deals I’ve seen have been in the last two months. Of course, the longer you wait, the more you risk missing out on the remaining stock.

There have also been rumblings about Samsung getting into the space (with panels made by LG?), so there’s always the chance that competition will drive prices lower. But, like everything else, that’s a waiting game.


I think burn-in would be a major problem for an OLED PC monitor, much more so than for a TV.