Two prestigious publications are using the words "game changer" about a new TV set. But the big question is will consumers agree?
The last big innovation in TV sets was 3D, and those sets have not been embraced in a major way by consumers.
Frist, let’s hear from Consumer Reports: "It’s not often that we get an up-close look at a truly new TV technology, but that’s exactly what happened when we brought the Samsung KN55S9C OLED TV into our labs. OLED promises to be a game-changer that could one day push current TV technologies to the sidelines. It combines the best attributes of plasma and LCD sets: the deep blacks, high contrast, and unlimited viewing angles of plasma TVs with the bright images, super-slim designs, and energy efficiency of LCD sets."
Super-slim is almost an understatement — this OLED TV is only half an inch thick.
Brian Cooley, editor-at-large at CNET, said on "CBS This Morning" today, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, that the new Samsung TV is a "game changer." He added, "This will be the TV you want and have in a few years. It’s $9,000 now, but I’ll tell you, that’s $6,000 less than expected, so the glass is half-full."
The new Samsung TV set is a curved screen, but Cooley said that wasn’t the news here. What is the news is that it’s a big-screen — 55 inch — OLED TV. Previously, much of what we’ve seen with OLED TV technology has been with much smaller screens.
Says Consumer Reports: "It’s arguably the best all-around TV we’ve ever tested, with the highest overall picture-quality scores and no major shortcomings — except, perhaps, its steep $9,000 price. Still, that’s much less than the $13,500 price disclosed when it was introduced earlier in Korea, and significantly below the current $15,000 retail price tag of LG’s comparably sized 55EA9800 set, which we’re hoping to test shortly."
"This isn’t the first OLED TV we’ve seen. The Sony XEL-1 wowed us when it was introduced a few years ago. But it cost $2,500 and had a tiny, 11-inch screen, making it unsuitable for use as a main TV. Manufacturing larger sets has been a challenge, but Samsung’s was worth waiting for, though panel lifetime and screen burn-in are yet to be determined."
Consumer Reports — which has always prided itself on the impartiality of its reviews — just kept gushing about the new Samsung TV:
"[H]ow did the TV actually do on our test patterns and real-world video? In a word, brilliantly.
"We were wowed by the seemingly effortless, accurate reproduction of high-definition programs and movies viewed on Samsung’s OLED set. The TV delivers on all key image quality attributes, including image brightness, deep black levels, full 1080p picture detail, accurate colors, and unparalleled 3D performance. We’ve often seen TVs that match some of these key performance benchmarks, but what makes the SC9 unique is that it hits them all. There was none of the screen nonuniformity or degraded viewing angle performance we’ve seen on LCDs, and no coarse contouring (banding) on smooth shades, or visible graininess on dark shadow detail that we see on some plasmas."
The review adds: "We know that 3D isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we’d be remiss not to mention that this set’s 3D performance is stunning, simply the best we’ve ever tested. In fact, we were quite surprised to see the OLED deliver near-perfect scores on our 3D ghosting tests."
Once the prices fall on OLED TVs to what most consumers can afford, we will find out indeed whether they are the "game changer" both CNET and Consumer Reports think they can be.