JUST WHEN you thought you had a good grasp
of the latest television terms, like ;K Ultra HD,
there’s another one you’ll want to learn: OLED
(organic light-emitting diodes).
While OLEDs might sound similar to LEDs
(light-emitting diodes), the lighting technology
we’ve been using for the past decade or so, OLED
televisions deliver superior picture quality, along
with other benefits, while being very energy-efficient. Be forewarned, there’s a bit of “geek
speak” in this article about OLED (pronounced
“oh-led”)—but it will help you as you research
your next television.
Your current television probably features an
LCD (liquid crystal display), with edge-lit or
backlit LEDs as the light source behind the LCD.
They look good, but OLED takes picture technology to the next level.
TVs with “organic” light-emitting diodes are
made from carbon-based materials that emit light
when electricity is applied through them. Each
pixel (or dot) is self-illuminating, so no additional
backlighting is required.
Not only does this make OLED TVs super thin,
but if you want to see pitch black on an OLED TV,
the pixels can be simply turned off, achieving
“perfect black,” as LG puts it. The result: OLED
televisions deliver an unprecedented contrast
ratio, which is the difference between the bright-est whites and the darkest blacks. (With most
older LED TVs, the pixel shutter is closed to show
black, but the backlight is never turned off.)
And thanks to the lack of a shutter array with
OLED TVs, these new televisions can also show
fast motion without any blurring or ghosting
issues. In other words, the refresh rates are considerably higher than with LED displays. Sports
fans will especially appreciate this technology.
What’s more, OLEDs offer more vivid colors
and an impressively wide viewing angle, so the
picture looks great for everybody in the room. The
person off to the side is no longer out of luck.
Because backlighting is not necessary, OLED
TVs are incredibly thin. Most OLED televisions
are only a couple of millimeters thick. In fact,
LG’s latest model measures just four credit cards
thick. Because they’re lighter and thinner, they’re
easier to mount on a wall.
OLED TVs are also energy-efficient, as they
sip rather than gulp electricity (mostly because
no backlight is needed). Be aware that OLED TVs
are available in large sizes: ;; inches and bigger.
This beautiful type of display is meant to be seen
Keep in mind that OLED TVs are still ;K
TVs—OLED refers to the panel technology and
;K to the resolution—so the two actually go hand
in hand. With an OLED TV, you can really enjoy
the high resolution of movies and shows produced
in ;K (more and more are being shot that way
Remember to secure it
Whether you buy a new TV or you already have
one, you should always properly secure TVs to
prevent them from toppling over and causing
damage—or, worse, hurting someone.
Many people like to mount their TV to a wall
like a painting, which also frees up valuable space.
Today’s TVs—especially thin and light OLED
televisions—are much easier to mount than older
TVs. For most popular TV models, it’s easy to find
a compatible mount that can secure the unit to
the wall. Properly installed, mounted TVs are
relatively secure and are typically out of the reach
of young hands.
If you prefer to place your television on a console or other piece of furniture, there are various
ways to secure the TV to the surface. One common
method is using an anti-tip strap, which secures
the TV (via existing holes in the back of the TV)
to the stand (you’ll typically have to drill a hole).
The installation process is easy, but if you don’t
want to mount the TV yourself, a professional can
come to your home to set it up for you. C
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on
Twitter at @marc_saltzman.
Saltzman will answer selected
questions in this column.
He regrets that unpublished
questions cannot be
Please include “Marc Saltzman
Q&A” in the subject line.
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
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The perfect picture?
OLED brings TV to a new level
You’ll ;nd a variety of the latest OLED TVs in the warehouses and online at Costco.com.
You can also buy TV mounts in
a variety of con;gurations at
Costco, and Costco.com offers
an anti-tip strap.