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LG's Flashy 55-Inch OLED Challenged by Dropping TV Prices

How much are you willing to pay for this beautiful, bleeding-edge OLED display? Is eight times the price of an LCD TV too much?

LG hasn't announced a price for its new 55-inch OLED TV, but you can bet that this beautiful, super-thin set will carry a hefty premium. 

If LG's press release and photos are to be believed, the new OLED TV will feature a jaw-droppingly gorgeous display with vivid colors and excellent clarity and contrast -- all of which put today's LED/LCD and plasma screens to shame.  Samsung reportedly has a similarly-sized OLED TV in the works too.   

How much are you willing to pay for this beautiful, bleeding-edge OLED display?  Is eight times the price of an LCD TV too much?

NPD DisplaySearch predicts the new 55-inch OLED TVs will sell for around $8000 when they debut in the third quarter of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports.  The good news is that prices will drop 50 percent to about $4000 (or less!) by the end of 2013.

By comparison, 55-inch LCD TVs will sell for under $1000 in the first quarter of 2012, according to Dan de Grandpre, CEO of Dealnews.com. 

TV prices have been dropping in recent months because, well, you're not buying them.  A persistently lousy economy hasn't helped, but there's also the problem of saturation. 

NPD Group analyst Ben Arnold told me recently that the majority of U.S. homes, perhaps more than 60 percent, already have an HDTV.  And right now, consumers aren't looking to upgrade. 

The slowdown in TV sales will likely force retailers to keep their prices low this year, Arnold says. 

So will the splendor of OLED TV spur consumers to upgrade?   Perhaps, but not right away.  It appears that OLED TV will follow the standard trajectory of consumer electronics hardware.  Initially, it'll be a luxury item for technology buffs and the well-to-do, and then migrate downstream as manufacturing costs (and hence retail prices) begin to fall.      

Whatever its price, LG's 55-inch OLED TV will certainly be one of the stars at next week's 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com, and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter, too.

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