OLED Television Is Finally Here... but It'll Cost You


The next time you stroll through the Magnolia Home Theater section of your friendly neighborhood Best Buy , consider paying some extra attention to the high-end TV selection.

Why? Because a little over two weeks ago, select Best Buy locations began offering the very first large-screen OLED television to hit shelves here in the United States, a 55-inch beauty from the minds at LG .

And while the first large-screen OLED TVs (which were originally unveiled at last years' Consumer Electronics Show) have been hailed for their vibrant colors, near-infinite contrast ratios, complete lack of motion blur, and incredibly thin form factors, this one might catch your eye for at least two other reasons.

Image source: LG.com

First, did you notice that slight curve? That's no optical illusion, but instead is the direct result of LG design engineers' efforts to make the most of their ability to quite literally bend the backlight-free OLED display -- something you won't see manufacturers doing with traditional, rigid LED-backlit LCD televisions.

According to LG's product page, this ensures "your eyes are equally distant from all parts of the screen, providing the most natural and immersive viewing experience."

And if the curved form factor doesn't raise your eyebrows, perhaps the price tag will:

Image source: bestbuy.com

And no, that's not a typo.

In fact, that's even higher than the $13,500 I expected when I wrote about the technology's coming launch back in May. Apparently, though, $13,500 is the going rate in LG's home country of South Korea.

That's fair enough, but before you go rolling your eyes wondering who in the world would ever spend so much money on a TV, don't underestimate the will of all those relatively wealthy individuals who absolutely must have the latest and greatest technology before the rest of the world gets their hands on it.

Believe me, for as long as quantities remain limited as manufacturing economies of scale build steam, you can bet a fair number of these high-margin sets will find their way out of Best Buy's sliding doors.

With this in mind, if electronics giants like LG and Samsung have anything to do with it -- and rest assured they do -- the price will eventually drop to the point that everyday consumers will be able to afford a super-slim, vibrant OLED television. Remember, as I mentioned last week, LG has already dedicated more than half its 2014 capital expenditures budget to building out its OLED infrastructure and improving its OLED-centric offerings.

What's more, Samsung is also putting its considerable resources behind the technology -- which already powers displays in millions of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets -- with equally impressive OLED TVs of their own. The two Korean Stalwarts even put their patent-related legal differences aside earlier this year shortly after Japanese competitors Sony and Panasonic teamed up to create two new 56-inch OLED televisions of their own.

How can you profit?
But if you're looking for the best place to put your investing money to benefit from coming onslaught of OLED-powered electronics, look no further than Universal Display . The company not only benefits from licensing virtually every patent that matters behind phosphorescent OLED tech, but also supplies the host materials required for all of the companies mentioned above to actually be able to manufacture OLED displays in the first place.

Of course, I already spent some time earlier this month discussing why now might be a great time to buy shares of Universal Display. With the company all set to announce earnings this Thursday after the market close, you'll also have plenty of new material to determine whether the OLED-technologist is worth your hard-earned investing dollars.

In the end, it's no mystery that I expect much of that new info to show Universal Display is on the right track, but the official launch of OLED TVs in the U.S. should only add fuel to the fire.

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The article OLED Television Is Finally Here... but It'll Cost You originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Universal Display. The Motley Fool recommends Universal Display. The Motley Fool owns shares of Universal Display. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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