Will OLED TVs Usher in Better Deals on LED-Backlit LCDs?

By , dealnews Senior Feature Writer

It's a well-known fact that new technology ushers in a barrage of deals on the previous-generation tech it replaces. We've seen that occur with processors, smartphones, laptops, and even tablets. But this year the stakes are higher as the TV industry braces itself for one of the biggest debuts we've seen since the introduction of high definition.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, both LG and Samsung showcased their next-generation OLED HDTVs. As CNET succinctly puts it, OLED has the potential to be the best TV technology ever. And as the waiting game begins for the first big-screen OLED HDTV to hit the U.S. market (CNET estimates LG's 55" 55EM9600 will debut first in Q3), we can't help but wonder how OLED will affect prices of other TVs, specifically LED-based LCDs.

So to get a glimpse into the type of deals we might see on LED-backlit LCDs after OLED debuts, we decided to see how LED itself impacted pricing when it hit the market. Thus, we turned back the clock to the summer of 2009. In the first three months that we debuted deals on 55" LED-backlit LCDs, their counterparts — 55" CCFL-based LCDs — dropped a whopping $701. Sure, you could argue that 55" CCFL LCDs were already declining in price (which they were), but their steepest price drops in 2009 didn't come on the traditional Black Friday, but rather, they came in August, the month after we posted our first 55" LED TV deal; plus, that sharp of a drop over so short a period of time is abnormal. CCFL sets slowly kept eroding in price as we listed more and more deals on LED TVs.

So how did these above-average price drops come about? They were mainly the result of nervous retailers. In the short term, retailers had to take a hit in profits to move inventory that was now considered "old." However, in the long term, it was manufacturers who lost the most, because retailers often have ratchets that allow them to return unsold products. Either way, both scenarios were wins for the consumer, because to move those "old" CCFL LCDs, prices had to go down.

Which brings us back to 2012. As deal hunters, we're excited to see Samsung and LG debut their respective OLED TVs because that means we're likely to see a strong wave of discounts on LED LCD TVs. (Specifically on 55" sets, since it appears LG and Samsung are focusing their OLED TVs in that size category.) And with LG's OLED TV due out in September, that could mean better-than-average holiday TV deals this Christmas.

An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Just wanted to say thank you for your efforts to predict market trends. The time you take to share your data and present it in an easy to understand manner is not only valuable to the consumer, it is also valuable to investors.
My $.02 would be, and I am afraid this will not be a revelation to anyone, is the "top end" of consumers will be the early adopters and the prices will first impact the 60"+ displays the most, closely following the trend you have kindly taken the time to research and graph.
Great job,
Everyone can get a LCD/LED today.  Many homes have been flooded with them.  I don't expect a major upgrade to another Flat HD TV product until at least 2015 unless they lower their price.  Flat panel product improvements will need to be so drastically improved to overcome the current product line.  Let's not forget about some short lived technology... just like Sony's Beta VCR's.  In fact, It seems like Sony is pushing the 4K technology...Sony's new 4K Blu Ray's...  It will be interesting to see how HD technology advances in the next 3 to 4 years.   If you have a HD Flat TV... I would wait for your current TV to fail before upgrading.  Samsung has made a ton of money with their Flat HD TV product line and needs to find a new niche to get Americans to pull the trigger again.  This is why you are seeing OLED, 3D and Smart TV etc... Built in cameras/hard drives/cloud storage could be next.   Maybe Microsoft is working with someone to install wireless Kinect modules into these Smart TV's. 
I would have to agree more with ikeya. I looked at current OLED products, ones much smaller, and they have huge price tags. I guess I could see maybe slight decrease, but since the prices are likely to be not competitive there will be minimal change. If OLED prices suddenly drop, then LED TV'smay follow shortly after. 
Honestly, I don't think OLED TVs will push down prices for LED LCD TVs for at least a couple of years.  OLED is going to be EXPENSIVE!  Easily $10k+ for a 55" display.  Since that's not even close to the price for an LED LCD TV (and even moreso plasma), you won't see any major dips due to OLED until early 2014 at the earliest, IMO. That said, I'd still love one of these in my living room! :)