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Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY), LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (LPL): OLED Television Is Finally Here… but It’ll Cost You

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The next time you stroll through the Magnolia Home Theater section of your friendly neighborhood Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), consider paying some extra attention to the high-end TV selection.

Why? Because a little over two weeks ago, select Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) locations began offering the very first large-screen OLED television to hit shelves here in the United States, a 55-inch beauty from the minds at LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL).

And while the first large-screen OLED TVs (which were originally unveiled at last years’ Consumer Electronics Show) have been hailed for their vibrant colors, near-infinite contrast ratios, complete lack of motion blur, and incredibly thin form factors, this one might catch your eye for at least two other reasons.

Image source: LG.com

First, did you notice that slight curve? That’s no optical illusion, but instead is the direct result of LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL) design engineers’ efforts to make the most of their ability to quite literally bend the backlight-free OLED display — something you won’t see manufacturers doing with traditional, rigid LED-backlit LCD televisions.

According to LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL)’s product page, this ensures “your eyes are equally distant from all parts of the screen, providing the most natural and immersive viewing experience.”

And if the curved form factor doesn’t raise your eyebrows, perhaps the price tag will:

Image source: bestbuy.com

And no, that’s not a typo.

In fact, that’s even higher than the $13,500 I expected when I wrote about the technology’s coming launch back in May. Apparently, though, $13,500 is the going rate in LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL)’s home country of South Korea.

That’s fair enough, but before you go rolling your eyes wondering who in the world would ever spend so much money on a TV, don’t underestimate the will of all those relatively wealthy individuals who absolutely must have the latest and greatest technology before the rest of the world gets their hands on it.

Believe me, for as long as quantities remain limited as manufacturing economies of scale build steam, you can bet a fair number of these high-margin sets will find their way out of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY)’s sliding doors.

With this in mind, if electronics giants like LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL) and Samsung have anything to do with it — and rest assured they do — the price will eventually drop to the point that everyday consumers will be able to afford a super-slim, vibrant OLED television. Remember, as I mentioned last week, LG has already dedicated more than half its 2014 capital expenditures budget to building out its OLED infrastructure and improving its OLED-centric offerings.

What’s more, Samsung is also putting its considerable resources behind the technology — which already powers displays in millions of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets — with equally impressive OLED TVs of their own. The two Korean Stalwarts even put their patent-related legal differences aside earlier this year shortly after Japanese competitors Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) and Panasonic teamed up to create two new 56-inch OLED televisions of their own.

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