So, admittedly, I’m a bit of a technology geek… I enjoy reading about new technology, watching how that technology gets applied, and watching how new technology starts out inaccessible to the masses, but eventually ends up in the most mundane devices in your home.
AMOLED and other flavors of OLED technology are included in these technologies that I have been watching. Only a couple of short years ago – Sonly launched the first OLED television – an 11″ screen that was aesthetically appealing, with a stunning picture, and a price tag north of $10,000 USD. Now, in 2009 – we have cell phones that are coming with AMOLED screens (The google Nexus One, the Samsung Impression (AT&T)) – meaning that OLED displays are already showing in low cost consumer devices.
Knowing that Samsung is considered one of the pioneers in this field (According to wikipedia, they produce 1 in every 2 OLED displays sold today) – one would assume that the new LED TV’s that they are advertising are neatly fitted into this category, and mark the start of the transition of this awesome new technology into everyone’s home.
Well… if you assumed that, like i did, you’d be wrong. It started last winter when they started a huge marketing push for their new LED TV’s. If you watch NFL football, you would have seen these ads all over – because “Samsung LED TV” was one of the sponsors of the NFL broadcasts. Initially, when I saw these ads, I was excited. Then I saw retailers like newegg.com – one of the sites I purchase from nearly constantly, creating NEW CATEGORIES in their home theater top level category for LED TV’s…. Browse that category, and sure enough – all of these new Samsung sets appear there.
So what’s the problem?? Well – the problem is that these are not LED TV’s at all. They are simply LED backlit LCD’s – another emerging technology that is becoming very common place rather than the flourescent backlit LCD’s of yore. For example, most netbooks with 10.1″ displays are LED backlit, the new iMac and Macbook’s are LED backlit, increasing numbers of laptops are LED backlit – but these manufacturers are not falsely advertising these products using the name of an emerging technology.
Now, let me say, although it does not sound like it, I am a HUGE samsung fan. I have samsung LCDs on all of my desktop computers, I supported and used the blackjack phones until the iPhone came out, and I currently have a Samsung LED-DLP TV that I love (although they are not making it anymore which is a shame). I’m also a huge newegg.com fan. This deceptive advertising, however, has me a little peeved. Just yesterday, I was at our local pizza shop having a pie (Enrico’s, for all of you Central Ohio peeps) – and I overheard a conversation where a guy was telling his buddy at the table next to me how his LED TV was technologically superior to his buddies LCD TV. I felt like saying “You’re an idiot” – but guess what – I refrained, because not only does Samsung mislead – so do the retailers.
I’m sure that the total DOLT at best buy who sold him his TV probably didn’t read any of the specs on the set and basically told this dude it was OLED. Another pet peeve of mine are the idiots at consumer electronics stores that shouldn’t be selling toasters, let alone PC’s and Home Theater components… but thats another story for another blog post.
The moral of the story? READ THE DAMNED SPECS – don’t just buy the hype. Sure, the new Samsung TV’s are beautiful and I’d love to have one. Additionally, I would easily buy one of the new sets over an older flourescent backlit model simply due to the longevity that LED could provide. Perfect example of how you should be an educated consumer when you’re spending that kind of money, and how you should research what you’re getting rather than letting someone else tell you what you’re getting.
Update 1/10/10 – LG and several other manufacturers have started selling LED backlit LCD TVs now to compete with this new line of Samsung TVs. Visiting their websites, I have noticed that everyone EXCEPT Samsung are correctly calling these LED Backlit LCD TVs or LED-LCD TVs. The most important part is that it still contains LCD in the name. LED is too easily confused with OLED and Samsung really needs to stop this.
Update 1/11/10 – after a little research, I found that the UK’s truth in advertising group (The ASA) Has requested Samsung Pull their ads for the very reason I mentioned above…. click here for the story on cnet.
Update 2/1/10 – After a long note that I sent directly to Newegg.com, I’ve noticed that they are now correctly lists these TV’s as LED-LCD.. nice work, NewEgg – I’m now a fan again. 😉 Good to see you listen to customers.