LG 55" curved OLED

I had my first proper look at an LG 55" OLED yesterday. It was on display in a vast electrical store and seemed to be the sharpest screen in that size. It was being a fed a repetitive diet of snowboarders strewn with coloured lights descending a mountain. This was intermingled with posh adverts for various electronics goods. I had time to kill while my wife shopped elsewhere so had a good quarter of an hour to watch and compare uninterrupted by staff or other shoppers.

Priced at 20,000DKK [about £2100 GBP] I found I was able to get quite close before the pixels became too obvious. Given a fairly fixed 8' viewing distance to the present TV screen from my usual chair it would have been fine. Previous advice for screen size would have made a 37" more than enough. The initial shock at the size of the 37" has changed to make it actually seems quite small.

The main reason I mention the OLED is that it represents a premium quality screen just as retail prices take a steep dive. A premium screen which is being sold by a football stadium sized mixed electrical goods dealer. A smaller dealer could no doubt be persuaded to connect the screen to a BDP and play a BD to the customer's own taste. This would, presumably, give a far better idea of the OLED screen's true PQ potential. On the repetitive video being shown at this big dealer I could see all sorts of local artifacts. Which I assume were the result of splitting off the same signal to a hundred other TV screens.

Even when showing programme material I could see a glossy reflection on the screen itself when I
deliberately moved off-axis. The curvature seemed to exaggerate the effect more than a flat surface might have done. My now-ancient 37" JVC flatscreen LCD screen isn't nearly so reflective as the OLED. But then the JVC has a plastic screen surface which can, no doubt, be textured to kill surface reflections. Albeit with potential, mechanical vulnerability issues.[The feared scratching has not occurred]

The LG OLED was remarkably thin at the edges and the picture extended well to the sides of the screen area. Though with a deeper, black, frame lines across top and bottom. Which soon went unnoticed. The screen body thickened nearer the centre of the back to house the vital electronics. This considerable thickening would be quite invisible unless one went deliberately around the back of the screen. A stand-alone box of display electronics might have been a better option for those who want a free standing monitor in a smart, minimalist room.

I did not like the large, wide and wavy, silver finished, metal stand but that is a matter of personal taste. I would much rather it had stood on an invisible structure to emphasize the 'cleanliness' of the screen design itself. I did not find the screen curvature a nuisance, nor of any particular benefit, when watching the TV from on centre. Only off-centre did it appear curved.

Having compared the screen to the two 55" HD LCDs on either side I would say that the OLED was easily the best screen choice of the moment if price is ignored. Though the comparison was with LCDs of only half the price of the OLED. Being relatively new technology, the OLEDs are still at premium prices compared to the more traditional LCD screens. That said, the extra cost is soon forgotten over the expected service life of enjoying the clearly superior OLED TV screen. Say about £2 a week extra spread over a conservative 5 years.

Were I in the market for a new TV screen I would prefer a flat [or much flatter] screen. No doubt it could be hung on a wall mount or floor stand to lose the showy table stand. Whether there are downsides to OLED ownership is hard to say so soon into mass manufacture. I just hope our humble  JVC continues to function so the replacement TV choice remains unnecessary. The danger is that OLED might be dropped as a technology. Or something even better might come along.