Financial controller Serene Tan, 47, was shopping for a 65-inch TV with a budget of $3,000 earlier this year.
She ended up spending $4,299 on a smaller, 55-inch unit.
The reason: She got an Oled (organic light-emitting diode) TV instead of the more conventional LED (light-emitting diode) TV.
But despite knowing that she could have got a much bigger LED TV with what she had spent, Ms Tan has no regrets. The vibrant display quality of her Oled TV is just so good, she said. Even her husband, who had earlier grumbled about her expensive decision, is now sold on the new TV in their living room.
"Earlier, my husband complained about spending so much on an Oled TV. But now, he won't watch shows on the LED TV in our bedroom but instead go out into the living room to watch on the Oled TV," she said.
"The colours of my bedroom TV are not as deep even after I tuned its contrast, brightness and colours. It is not even close," she added.
LED TVs, which are based on LCD (liquid crystal display) technology, have pixels that cannot produce their own light. They use backlighting instead to illuminate the pixels.
Oled TVs use a newer type of panel technology, in which each light- emitting diode is capable of producing light when an electrical current passes through it.
This means that Oled TVs are capable of showing deeper and darker black tones, since the fully darkened areas are simply not lit up.
On an LED TV, displaying black tones is achieved by covering up the backlight, which invariably results in some light bleeding through across the screen. The result is an uneven-looking greyish hue.
LED screens are also prone to colour inconsistencies, as there is less precise control over each pixel element. The newer Quantum Dot LED TVs improve on this, but they are still no match for Oled TVs when it comes to colour quality.
The difference in colour between Oled and LED is especially marked with the new range of 4K high-resolution TVs.
While Oled TVs are superior in technology, they are also three times more expensive than LED TVs of the same size and type. As a result, adoption rate at the moment remains low. This is despite the technology being available since 2013.
LG is currently the sole TV brand selling Oled TVs in the market.
The company declined to reveal sales numbers, but said Oled TVs have gained a 2 per cent market share here since their debut in 2013.
It added that Oled TVs have seen a 1,200 per cent jump in local sales in the last one year. It is also preparing to launch its first curved Oled TVs this month.
Other TV makers such as Panasonic, Sony and Samsung have shown interest in the technology, but have not indicated if they will make any Oled TVs.
Actually, they have been working on Oled displays for the past few years, but the displays are largely for use in gadgets like phones, tablets and signage.
Samsung is known for using Active Matrix Oled, or Amoled, screens on its high-end smartphones. It recently showed a transparent Oled display for retail and marketing use.
The company made a shortlived foray into Oled TVs in 2013.
Samsung has said that it will focus on LED TVs this year.
OLED TV OUTLOOK
Retailers here said more consumers are aware of Oled TVs and demand has been slowly rising.
"There is a group of customers who would buy the latest TVs, like Oled TVs. There are not a lot of these people at the moment, but the numbers are picking up," said Mr Alvin Lee, managing director of Audio House.
Mr Terry O'Connor, CEO of Courts Singapore, said: "We have seen sales grow five times more for Oled TVs."
He added: "We foresee that Oled TVs will be the next dominant display technology as picture quality is undisputedly better and they are slimmer due to the lack of backlight. They are eco-friendly and efficient too."
Also helping the Oled TV's cause is the fact that prices have fallen by more than half since they were launched in 2013. At the time, a 55-inch Oled TV cost about $15,000. A similar model now sells for under $5,000.
The latest curved-screen 55-inch model, due this month, will be priced at $6,999.
Another push factor for Oled TV sales is the recent availability of larger models.
"There is an increasing trend of consumers asking for Oled TVs, especially when the bigger screens are coming in," noted Mr Lee of Audio House.
LG will be introducing a 65-inch Oled model in Singapore this year. It has also announced 77-inch and 99-inch models, although the company has not indicated if the models will be available in Singapore.
Indoor LED TVs are available up to 110 inches in size.
Aside from getting bigger, Oled TVs might also get thinner, and light enough to mount on a wall using magnets.
Earlier this year, LG showed a 55-inch prototype that is just 0.97mm thick, and could be attached to a magnetic mat fixed on a wall.
This article was first published on August 5, 2015.
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