(WAVE/CONSUMER REPORTS) - The next big thing in high definition television is here, but is it worth the money? The new technology is making its way to store shelves and maybe your living room ... if people can afford it.
TV manufacturers are phasing out plasma televisions. So we're left mainly with LCD televisions. They're very popular, but Consumer Reports says an emerging technology is really going to shake up the television industry.
The latest in television technology is called OLED. In Consumer Reports labs, the head of TV testing says it's the best display technology out there, combining the best features of plasmas and LCDs.
"What we like about OLED is that it delivers on the deep black levels and unlimited viewing angles that we've come to expect from the best plasmas," said Claudio Ciacci, Consumer Reports. "At the same time it delivers on the power efficiency, super-thin bezel design and also the bright picture that we've come to expect from LCD TVs."
OLED stands for organic light emitting diodes. Organic refers to the layer of carbon film, which emits light when hit with an electric current.
"We're running the LG through our usual battery of tests and so far it's delivering on the core performance we're really expecting from this technology," said Ciacci. "But we're also looking at color accuracy, the reproduction of fine detail and the ability to reproduce shades of grey, especially the near black ones. And there we're seeing some subtle issues. But overall the picture is really terrific."
OLED TVs started out very expensive. For example, one Samsung model was priced at $10,000 last year. Others were even more. But prices are coming down. The LG now in Consumer Reports' lab is $3,500.
"We expect to see continued improvements in OLED technology, more manufacturers to enter the OLED TV business in the next year or so and prices to continue to fall," said Jim Willcox of Consumer Reports.
Also coming soon, the marriage of OLED and ultra high-def television that Consumer Reports expects will make a great picture even better.
LG expects to start selling ultra high-def OLED sets this fall. But at this point, prices are still more than a lot of us can pay. LG's 65-inch set costs $10,000 and its 77-inch set will be $25,000.