LG Debuting 55-inch Ultra-Thin OLED TV at CES, May Sell Later This Year

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LG Electronics

Jumbo-screen TV lovers, hide your checkbooks — it sounds like LG will be the first electronics manufacturer to sell a monster-sized 3D organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TV later this year. Hey, what better way to celebrate 2012 (you know, the year the world ends!) than by earmarking a bunch of money to fill your living room with 55 inches of “emissive electroluminescent” resplendence?

Look for the OLED TV to make a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas next week, says LG spokesperson Ken Hong (via Bloomberg). Contrary to some reports, it won’t be the world’s largest TV — that distinction still goes to Panasonic’s 152-inch 3D Plasma TV, which’ll set you back $500,000 — but it’ll certainly be the biggest OLED screen in the offing.

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A quick refresher: OLED tech uses organic carbon-based compounds that display red, green or blue light in response to electric current. Unlike an LCD screen, OLED screens don’t require crystals that “twist” and “untwist.” They tend to produce sharper, cleaner images, have ultrafast refresh rates and since they don’t need a backlight (to illuminate the crystals in LCDs) they use considerably less power and can fit in thinner frames.

Speaking of thin, LG says its 55-inch OLED display is a trifling four millimeters thick and weighs just 16.5 pounds. Read that again: four millimeters. Note to James Bond and Jason Bourne: Don’t bother clobbering bad guys with one of these, because you might as well use tissue paper.

And just in case: Don’t confuse OLED with LED screens — LED TVs are just a different kind of LCD TV. They’re still using LCD tech for the picture, but with LED backlighting instead of “cold cathode” (CCFL) illumination. They’re a midpoint between LCDs and OLEDs, using less power (LED backlighting) and allowing for thinner display bezels without charging OLED prices.

In other words, don’t expect LG’s 55-inch OLED TV to be cheap. NPD DisplaySearch estimates it’ll cost a whopping $8,000 when it goes on sale, probably sometime in the third quarter of 2012, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham, Google+ or Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.