LG OLED TV

LG Electronics has launched sales of its new television using a next-generation display that the company hopes will drive growth against giant rival Samsung.

The electronics giant began accepting pre-orders for the TV that features an organic light-emitting diode display, in the world’s first commercial sales of such TV sets.

OLED TVs don’t require separate backlights and thus are thinner, consume about 20 percent less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat-panel sets.

The LG OLED model, 55 inches wide but just 0.16 inches (four mm) thick, was crowned best gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, trumping a similar-size Samsung set.

“We will launch the OLED TV in North America, Europe and elsewhere in Asia in the first quarter to secure a leading position in this next-generation TV market,” the company said in a statement.

The TV comes with a whopping price tag of 11 million won ($10,357), as manufacturers still struggle to cut the cost of mass-producing the delicate panels.

Samsung Electronics aims to start sales of its own OLED TVs later this year, although OLED displays are already used on its popular Galaxy S and Note smartphones.

Market researcher DisplaySearch estimated global sales of OLED TVs in 2013 would reach 50,000 units and increase sharply to more than 7.0 million units in 2016.