Monday, September 22, 2014

Is OLED In Your Future?

Everyone wants their TV picture to look as good as possible — with some finding perfection in a Sony TV, while another rightly will talk up the virtues of their Samsung models instead. But while getting that video signal onto the display that one sits in front of for watching requires a lot of electronics, certain basic inner technologies contribute to making a great picture. But when someone extolls the virtues of OLED, scratching the head is pretty much the results that most people come away with.

OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) operate in a different manner than that of LCD and Plasma TVs — basically it uses electricity to generate red, green and blue which together becomes the picture. With the ability to “turn off” a pixel to create the color black better than others, an OLED display doesn’t in turn have to compromise by being thicker or more energy-thirsty than other display technologies. That all sounds good on the surface, right?

Turns out that it’s even more good than that. It’s what you see that counts and the quality of the colors are many times more than impressive to the eye. Colors are immensely lifelike and when combined with a high-resolution image attract the eye and hold its attention. This is aided by an inherent level of brightness greater in comparison to that of non-OLED displays. But like most things, seeing is believing.

So we were at the Century City store, where LG’s 55” Curved 1080 Smart OLED TV was on display. That the screen was curved added to the appeal — the chassis is clean and straightforward — as did the webOS interface. But it’s the picture that draws all the attention — frankly, it’s gorgeous. The colors are incredibly rich and the blacks deep: the overall view dramatic. Plus it’s compelling to the point that you lose your perspective of time: the 10 minutes of standing there staring pretty much seemed to fly by. And if you think this view spoils you, just try (as we did) bringing up a HD photo — going back to viewing it on another display will seem weak in comparison. We should add that those digital cameras that feature an OLED view finder find favor with their users because of its qualities.

The time spent at the store also gave us time to fawn over Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S, because it features a OLED display also (called here, Super AMOLED). The high-resolution screen of a tablet might be smaller than that of a TV (obviously), but the addition of OLED technology brings the same benefits as that found on the bigger TV screen. In fact on a tablet, having the ability to slim it down becomes more of an issue, since one never holds a 55” TV on one’s lap over (any) an extended period of time. But the real benefit comes from the colors that the tablet is able to exhibit; the combination of brilliant whites and inky blacks making a greater impact on a small screen. Strip away the “bells & whistles” and the hype surrounding one company’s claims made against their competitors and the simple fact remains that an OLED screen just provides a color accurate view that is heavy on the joy.

It’s a fact that there aren’t dozens of manufacturers making OLED screens for home consumer viewing, and so this impacts the price. But humans are visual creatures at the end of the day and it’s what you see and how you feel about what you see that counts. OLED is real and a reality to consider when making a viewing choice. And that’s not hype.


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