PhotoWould you pay $10,000 for a TV? It's probably not a good investment but the new LG 55-inch OLED TV is gong on sale in South Korea Monday and the company says it has pre-orders for more than 100 of the next-generation displays.

What's so great about it?

Well, primarily, along with the other bells and whistles -- built-in WiFi, "smart" technology and so forth -- the OLED uses an organic light-emitting diode display, which is where the OLED name comes from.

OLED is a new way of displaying an image on a screen and is considered the technology that's most likely to replace liquid-crystal display (LCD) TVs, which is what most of us have scattered around the house.

It's thought that Samsung has a similar model just about ready to go but hasn't said when it will start full-scale production, so LG is taking the opportunity to get out ahead of its primary competitor.

And what's so different about OLED? Its main advantage is a thinner screen and, we're told, a sharper, brighter image.

Or as LG puts it on its website: "OLED uses an organic substance that glows when an electric current is introduced. This revolutionary material is part of new design approach that drastically reduces the thickness and weight of the TV. The light passes through a combination of filters to reproduce spectacular high-definition images."


It's sort of like those phosphorescent fish you may have seen the last time you were in a diving bell at the bottom of the sea. Maybe.

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OLED displays work without a backlight, which improves the contrast ratio -- blacker blacks in other words. An OLED display should also have a faster response time and a wider viewing area.

Longevity and energy consumption are question marks, however.  Manufacturers will no doubt claim hurdes in these areas have been overcome, but cautious consumers may want to wait a cycle or two before emptying out their checking accounts to cart one of these new playthings home.

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