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February 11, 2014

LG Slashes Price on Its 55-Inch Curved OLED Television: Still Expensive

One great thing about technology for the bargain hunter out there is that, with a little patience, most any technology will eventually come crashing through the price floor, yet will likely still represent an upgrade. Home theaters are no different, and since curved OLED televisions still embody the tip of the spear technologically-speaking, these systems are still pretty expensive by any standard. LG, maker of one such line of curved OLED displays, is eager to help get the device into more homes, and as such, has cut prices accordingly. But the cuts may not help too many make the jump, despite the pronounced nature of the cuts.

The LG 55EA9800 is the model number on LG's impressive curved OLED, a system billed to improve immersion by drawing in the peripheral vision and making the experience feel just a little more real by preventing the viewer from looking away. A large television made with the newest screen technology and in a completely new form factor shouldn't be expected to be inexpensive, but some might have believed that LG might have gone a bit far, especially in a bad economy. The original price was $14,999, but now LG is offering up a bit of a special.  Now, the set is available for right around 50 percent of the original price. The new price on the 55EA9800 is now a meager $7,999, with a $1,000 instant rebate.

This may sound like something of an unusual move, especially given that the 4K television market is likely about to start firing up in earnest before much longer. But, the reports aren't that LG is looking to trim its inventory, but rather that it's trying to make the curved OLED more accessible. Word from LG Electronics president William Cho spelled out LG's purpose here, saying “Our goal is to grow the US OLED TV market by making OLED TVs more affordable. And this is another step in that direction.”

There's no denying that, indeed, LG has made the OLED television more affordable. A discount anywhere near 50 percent can't be described as anything but “more affordable.” The problem here, of course, is that the LG 55EA9800 wasn't really affordable to begin with. Half of “really expensive” is still pretty expensive at the end of the day, and that doesn't help LG's case in an economic environment perhaps best described as “limping.” Worse, add in the imminent arrival of the next step up in resolution (4K), and LG might soon find itself a bit behind the eight-ball.

That's not to say LG doesn't have an edge here. Really, the curved design is distinctive enough to find favor in the upscale market, and 4K will likely take at least a couple years to go mainstream in any meaningful way. Content is only just starting to show up for it, and that's going to give LG a little breathing room. Still, this may not be the best of moves for LG, and this may ultimately turn out to be an even more exciting show than anything on television itself.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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