October 16 2010
After making an idiot of itself last year with a “borderless TV” that had borders, Korea’s LG has now found redemption with something remarkable – the 15EL9500 OLED TV.
Oled (organic light emitting diode) is a form of screen that almost nobody has heard of, but will soon be an everyday acronym. Oleds are not only ridiculously slim – the 15in screen on this TV is just 3mm thick – but also offer the potential for foldable, roll-up-able screens. And we all know where that leads – to paper becoming a luxury alternative to your 2020 iPad 10, which will be like a bendy piece of Perspex on which you read everything that’s now printed.
Like a lot of slow-burn advances, Oled has been a long time coming. I was writing about these being imminent 10 years ago. And to be candid, the LG 15EL9500 is a limited take on what we want Oled to be. Try bending its screen and you’ll kiss goodbye to a scorching £1,700. (It was going to be £1,900, but even the manically early-adopting Koreans must have thought that a bit rich.)
Speaking of early adoption, you may wonder why LG is out on its own with the 15EL9500, when Sony passed on Oled a while ago. LG is obsessed with being the front runner – the same obsession led to that borderless TV, which was a very nice set, just not what was claimed.
Anyway, what do you get with it? Well, it comes in a stunning box (this matters, honestly, in building your post-purchase expectations). The TV’s gorgeous, with an interesting unfolding A-shaped form, a dense, almost mesmerising picture, slightly tinny sound and the ability, since it’s water resistant, to act as a bathroom or kitchen TV.
The problem, for me, with this product is that it still needs a forest of thick black cables “round the back” to work. We all want a television as winsomely slender as this to stand alone, self-powered and with content fed wirelessly. As it is, you’ll need some hefty electrical plumbing to hide the cables. But take a look at the 15EL9500 and you may well think it’s worth the effort to accommodate.