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5 Takeaways From LG’s $3,499 OLED TV Launch

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. – LG’s launch of a $3,499 55-inch curved-screen OLED FullHD TV through Best Buy and other retail partners Aug. 24 is expected to spark significant demand in the burgeoning technology while giving the Korean manufacturer a significant leg up on its competition.

This time, LG and Best Buy said the 55-inch curved-screen FullHD OLED TV, model 55EC9300, will be available through more than 1,000 Best Buy locations, where Best Buy TV merchant director Luke Motschenbacher said the chain will merchandise it on a special dedicated end-cap display on its main selling floor. The launch of the first LG OLED TV last year was positioned in Magnolia departments of a few Best Buy flagship stores.

In addition, LG said the set will be carried by other leading CE chains with assisted sales floors – a marked contrast from Best Buy’s exclusive last year.

The display will have point-of-purchase messaging prepared by LG discussing all the features and benefits. Consumers will also be able to see demonstrations built into the TV to help experience what it will really look like in the home.

The following are five takeaways to expect from the Earth-shaking pricing strategy behind the 55- inch LG curved-screen FullHD OLED TV model 55EC9300.

1 LG Will Solidify Its OLED Leadership

Indeed, when it comes to big-screen OLED TV technology, LG is the only game in town right now. Both Sony and Samsung have put current OLED marketing plans on hold to focus on 4K Ultra HD LCD TV. By cutting the price so much and so quickly, another manufacturer will have a difficult time introducing a competitive challenge that can earn a profit. Consequently, Samsung and others are trying to improve LCD technology to keep up.

2 Consumers Will Come To This One Horse Race

Although the investment stakes are high, analysts believe LG’s execution of OLED TV development will enable the company to go it alone for a while until competitors begin to catch up. Although rivals, and even LG itself, will spend a lot of money this year to promote 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs, OLED sets, even at FullHD resolution, offer a lot of compelling and demonstrable benefits. The panels are nearly paper thin, allowing new interesting flexible screen styling designs. They’re bright with very strong contrast and black-level performance rivaling even the best plasma displays, and they allow for a very wide color gamut and color saturation.

3 LG’s Technology Appears Reliable

LG has already invested in a Gen 8 fab that recently began production on OLED panels. Although some OLED approaches have reportedly had difficulty with uneven aging of blue phosphors that could shorten a panel’s lifespan, LG said its White Organic Light Emitting Diode (WOLED) circumvents this problem. (However, exactly how long a WOLED panel is expected to last is difficult to predict at this stage of a rollout). Meanwhile, the company said it has made great strides in production yield efficiency on WOLED oxide backplanes, matching that of early LCD production.

4 OLED TV Gets A Wider Distribution Base

The launch of LG’s second-generation 55- inch curved-screen OLED TVs will be given a boost over last year’s model through the use of a significantly expanded distribution base. In addition to appearing at 1,000 of the bigbox chain’s stores, the LG 55EC9300 will be rolling out with other leading regional CE retail chains including hhgregg, Fry’s Electronics and Brandsmart. LG and its retailing partners will support the product with advertising and marketing muscle, while educating the public to the technology benefits through assisted selling floors, creating excitement and driving customers into stores for the critical second half.

5 Holiday TV Confusion Awaits

Coming just days after Best Buy announced its Ultra HD awareness campaign, consumer confusion between Ultra HD and OLED TVs is likely to result, just as it did between flat-panel TVs and HDTVs in the early days of both of those technologies. Whether they carry LG OLED TVs or not, sales-floor people will need to be prepared to answer customers’ questions about both technologies to clarify the distinctions between the new resolution format and the new display format.