back to article Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Samsung has decided to stop pushing its light emitting diode business outside of South Korea, despite reckoning it would be a growth area a few years ago. Like Philips, Sammy has realised that LED is not, after all, where it’s at, and it will be shutting the unit down overseas. Philips recently announced it would be spinning …

LED Bulb price

I think the cost of the LED bulbs is what kills it. That, and the low output of the more common bulbs. I can get CFLs cheap, that use about the same amount of power. Why should I spend a lot more for LED?

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Re: LED Bulb price

"Why should I spend a lot more for LED?"

A much better light quality for starters and they are dropping in price. Think I paid about £4 for a 9w candle type a few weeks back. Gives a much better light than the 11w CFL ones you tend get for the same purpose.

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Re: LED Bulb price

Because CFLs don't last what they used to.

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Re: LED Bulb price

LED bulbs seem most immediately useful as a replacement for halogen spots. Although not a like-for-like comparison, I don't think I ever got all three GU10s lit in my old kitchen for more than a day or two (even after changing the light fitting), when we installed kitchen lighting in the new house we went for 6x LED AR111s and they've been happy for over two years. Relative cost of an individual bulb is incomparable of course, but when factoring in the hassle of regular bulb replacement it's far more attractive.

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much better light quality?

Unless the CFL is garbage, CFL is HUGELY better colour rendition. LED source is simply too long a wavelength to have the decent mix of phosphors.

Colour Temperature is NOT Colour Rendition/Quality.

Also more efficient CFLs have poorer colour than other CFLs, but all kinds are better spectrum that any LED.

Light diffusion is still an LED issue.

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Re: LED Bulb price

LED spotlights are the best things ever. Like Malcolm, I found that incandescents or CFLs in a can fixture (PAR10) in my kitchen ceiling would cook themselves very quickly, but I've had the same LED bulbs for 2 years now and they are still going strong.

The color temperature and brightness of modern LED bulbs (CREE, Philips) are indistinguishable from incandescents of equivalent lumen value, and they use less than 10% of the power (and have well over 10 times the lifespan). I think the reason for the selloffs in the biz is because LED bulbs quickly became a commodity item, and they couldn't make premium dollars selling them anymore. Current prices are about half of what I paid for my Kitchen LED bulbs.

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Re: LED Bulb price

You're right, but not the way you think. The cost of LED lights are killing it for Sammy.

They were predicting a lucrative LED lightbulb business. The prices have dropped so low, so fast, that it has become a race to the bottom. Even the dirty cheap units work pretty well.

Samsung has become a premium brand and are wasting their brand and energy chasing the LED lightbulb market.

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Re: much better light quality?

"LED source is simply too long a wavelength to have the decent mix of phosphors."

Did you steal a physicists scrabble board?

LEDs can produce a wider range of wavelengths than the human eye can see. All the way from UV to IR.

"mix of phosphors"??? WTF does that mean.

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WTF?

Re: much better light quality?

A much better light quality for starters

Not from where I'm sitting, right now - as long as you're not trying to compare to the absolute cheapest junk, of course. Even though I'm seriously squeamish about "bluish" CFL light, ever since incandescents went out of style I've been using some half-decent warm CFLs in my room, and I have zero problem with their light "quality" (whatever that's supposed to mean - do they have a "bouquet" too?). They're also soldiering on quite nicely so far - I don't expect them to outlast me, and I'm definitely not willing to pay a princely sum for such a (rather dubious) feature either.

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Re: much better light quality?

Err LEDs often use phosphors to produce different coloured white light.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode#Phosphor-based_LEDs

And LEDs have a fairly narrow band of discrete wavelengths too

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Re: LED Bulb price

"LED bulbs seem most immediately useful as a replacement for halogen spots."

I was hoping to use MR16 (12V) bulbs in track lights when the prices dropped. Seemed a good marriage: the track light units already had 12V mounts, and since most LED are lower output they seemed suited to lighting with more smaller output bulbs vs. fewer higher output. But my electrician son-in-law told me to stick to halogens. He said the LED's have a high starting current like an electric motor, and they burn out the transformers. Of course this would not apply to the integrated 120 or 240V screw-in LED's.

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Re: LED Bulb price

"Why should I spend a lot more for LED?"

I do because I find that CFLs don't last as long as their marketing claims, contain hazardous materials that require careful handling, and are easy to break. I find that LEDs are both more robust and easier to recycle. Even if I did manage to break one the cleanup would be easier.

Also, CFLs don't work as well in the cold, though that's not much of a problem here in Sacramento.

I believe LEDs are a better long-term investment than CFLs.

If none of those reasons appeal to you, then by all means, stick with CFLs.

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Boffin

Re: much better light quality?

No, he's absolutely right that LEDs have too long a wavelength to excite a decent phosphor mix.

As somebody working the the field of LED illumination (at the middle to absolute top end), I see a lot of the details that most people never would.

Near-UV LEDs do exist, but they are fairly low efficacy and have short lifetimes. Far-UV is basically unknown outside the lab - the efficacy and lifetime are just too poor to be worth it (yet).

Almost every "White" LED you can buy is a Blue LED painted with a thin layer of yellow phosphor. The approx. colour temperature (CCT) is mostly decided by the thickness/density of the phosphor layer - thicker layers let less of the blue through - thus higher colour temps are more efficacious, but look worse.

This obviously makes it really hard to make the same White LED twice!

There have been some interesting experiments with LED lamps - Philips did a really nice "remote phosphor" lamp (it had external clip-on phosphor-impregnated panels), there was an excellent Red+White that red-shifted while dimming, and earlier in the year narrowband RGB mixes were being tried out, which are much more repeatable than "White" LED as you don't have to control the thickness of the phosphor layer.

Unfortunately I fear that innovation at the domestic end of the market may be over now that both Samsung and Philips have exited the market.

Philips were (and still are) absolutely terrible at the high-brightness end (the PL4 is just embarrassingly bad), but they made some really good domestic lamps.

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Re: LED Bulb price

"Because CFLs don't last what they used to."

Some would argue that they never were worth it. There are constant bleats about "you're not using quality units", which is true, except their cost approaches LEDs, and the plethora of cheap chinese CFLs flooding the shelves doesn't help.

So even if you account for the elevated cost, you're still better off with LEDs.

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Re: much better light quality?

"mix of phosphors"??? WTF does that mean.

The white LEDs when people say "white LED", is actually a blue led with a phosphor that shifts that blue, into a wider range into the reds and greens resulting in what sorta looks like white.

But it's not a smooth spectra of light, it has gaps, resulting in some colours not lighting up like they should.

Using a lighting technology that uses phosphors, can "cheat" a bit and use multiple phosphors, where each one creates a spread of its own, where the result can be fine tuned to some degree to a better "white" or even a colour.

This is how flourecents, CFLs and modern-day "neons" (that are actually flouros) work.

The difficulty with LEDs are, since they're monochromatic (one very sharp colour), getting a good spread is harder to do, even with a "mix of phosphors".

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Re: much better light quality?

LED source is simply too long a wavelength to have the decent mix of phosphors.
I have one of these:
https://www.any-lamp.com/philips-ledbulb-d-12-60w-b22-2700k-a60-master
in an Anglepoise lamp, and the colour is much better than that from the CFL which I had there previously (and had to remove as my wife complained about it).

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Re: LED Bulb price

"He said the LED's have a high starting current like an electric motor"

The guy might use some learning in what the "LED light" is.

Any sane LED light would include electronic "transformer" circuit, because the LEDs do not operate at 12V or 220V etc. As with any electronic circuit, you can make the load signature anything you wish, someone just has to design it once, and the Chinese will stamp it in components for cents. Nothing to excited about.

Of course, there are junk LED lights, that just run the LEDs in series, if you are lucky with a resistor. Even in such cases, the LEDs do not have such load characteristics.

Cool halogen lights on the other hand, have very high initial currents, because, let's face it, the incandescent lamp is a resistor, when it is dark it has low resistance, when it gets warm, the resistance increases and it eventuLly stabilizes at it's rated power consumption. With time the filament gets thinner and thinner and eventually one day the high initial current gets too much for the already too thin filament wire and the lamp burns out.

It is also because of these characteristics, that AC lamps wear much faster - there is a simple chematics that can be used to start the lamp at the zero voltage moment - making its life much longer.

So, if desired and incandescent lamp can be made to last much more, easily (that schematics exist for decades, today they are dirty cheap) - but this will jeopardize the profits..

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Re: one day the high initial current gets too much

The thing that kills most incandescent light bulbs is the mechanical shock of being turned on, which is why most such bulbs go "fring!" rather than just refuse to light from the get-go.

This has been known for years, as has the cure. One simply uses a fader or dimmer to bring the lamp up to brightness. Even the fastest flick of the finger is eons longer in lightbulb years than the surge of a switched voltage and the resulting mechanical shock is much lower.

Which is why I've had the same 100 watt el-cheapo tungsten floodlight in my upstairs bathroom for about 22 years.

LED lightbulbs are a boondoggle, sold on the public in a welter of misinformation and half-truths, and much worse for the environment all round than the vacuum and tungsten sort when one starts to dig into what goes on in a chip fabbing plant.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LED Bulb price

@ DanceMan

"But my electrician son-in-law told me to stick to halogens. He said the LED's have a high starting current like an electric motor, and they burn out the transformers. Of course this would not apply to the integrated 120 or 240V screw-in LED's."

Unfortunately, it seems your daughter married a retard...

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Re: much better light quality?

"Unless the CFL is garbage, CFL is HUGELY better colour rendition."

View the available types of both with a diffraction grating and you'll change your tune.

CFLs emit far too much green and there are usual big holes in the spectrum. I haven't seen a LED with "spotty spectrum" for several years.

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FAIL

Re: LED Bulb price

"He said the LED's have a high starting current like an electric motor"

Wildly incorrect. Incandescents have that property until the filaments are hot.

" and they burn out the transformers."

Bullshit.

LEDs draw 1/10 the current of equivalent halogens, so switchmode-type supplies frequently won't startup (noone's used a "transformer" on Halogen lighting for decades). The answer is to change to a "LED" supply, which ranges in price from 4-12 pounds depending on the supply wattage (these supply proper DC rather than AC too, so the LEDs don't flicker at low settings)

Your electrician brother in law sounds like a bit of a cowboy.

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Re: much better light quality?

" RGB mixes were being tried out, which are much more repeatable than "White" LED"

Viewed through a diffraction grating, RGB arrays have 3 colour peaks and not a lot in between. That means that they're great for wall-washing, but lousy for viewing anything needing full-spectrum colour.

The human eye can cope quite well with redshifting - the fact that we can see "white" under incandescent and candle light is a pretty good demonstration of the fact. Seeing "Black" where a colour shoould be is somewhat more disconcerting.

(Cheap tip for a diffraction grating - use the shiny surface of a CD)

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Re: much better light quality?

"Using a lighting technology that uses phosphors, can "cheat" a bit and use multiple phosphors, where each one creates a spread of its own, where the result can be fine tuned to some degree to a better "white" or even a colour."

Which is exactly what the newer generations of LEDs do.

The original yellow-phosphur leds had an awful spectrum, but they're a long way in the past.

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Re: much better light quality?

@ Richard 12

Well, guys, all I can say is you are looking in the wrong direction.

I have no idea of the technicalities of LED lights with phosphors, colour shifts or whatever.

I had started replacing bulbs with lower wattage types, including halogen, and had just started using LED bulbs. Expensive yes, but if they last as long as they claim, then that will be fine by me.

All I can say is that I wouldn't have a crap CFL in the house and have just recently replaced 26 down lights, some of which were MR16 halogen (in the kitchen) and the remainder were R80 type.

They have all been replaced by a 10W dimmable sealed LED unit designed by a company here in NZ, and manufactured in China (of course) Not only are they as MUCH better light output than the MR16, they have a better spread, with not so much of a spotlight effect. They are that bright with a good colour that I have had dimmers installed so that I can get some mood lighting going. No problem with colour - they're just a warm white - about 3500 K I believe.

They are warrantied for 40,000 hours which my calculations lead me to believe that if I had them on 5 hours every night they should last me 21 years or so.

SO I guess the reason that Sammy and Philips are no longer interested is that once installed they are unlikely to sell any more bulbs for a great number of years. Diminishing returns with no built in obsolescence. Not a good business model these days.

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Re: LED Bulb price

You can't have a CCFL that looks like this:

http://www.tagra-lighting.co.uk/led-filament-bulbs/6w-led-filament-gls-bulb-e27-b22.html*

That's what persuaded me to order a couple to see how they perform!

*Other online retailers are available :)

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Re: LED Bulb price

have you notice homebase does LED (eff. 60W) for £6.74 ???

http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/homebaseuk/tcp-gls-led-10w-%2860w%29-bc----1-pack-266521

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Re: LED Bulb price

but...... thats amazing!!!!! a LED to warm your 'filament bulb' heart.... :O :D :O

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Patience.

Only last year I changed the last lightbulb out for the low energy long lasting types, when they start going I'll be using LED's, but I'm not going to spend lots of money changing perfectly good working bulbs.

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Re: Patience.

Ayup ... an upvote for if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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Happy

Re: Patience.

Since moving into my house in 1992 I have had the odd golf ball lamp fail. For a while I always bought a new pack as I was not sure where the spares were. Then they were tidied up... We have replaced less than 1/3rd of the original lamps. At this rate I now have enough spares to last me until I am well over 100 years old. Still In one of the most used rooms did replace the old type with LEDs to see what they were like - vastly better than CFLs, switch them on yesterday to get horrid light today and they never fitted the lighting unit!

I am pleased that LEDs are coming down in price, but worried that with too many makers dropping out, both quality and supply will decline.

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Re: Patience.

That's exactly what I've done having switched to low energy years ago.

The most used ones like the spotlights in the kitchen are now leds and tbh are way better than the low energy ones.

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Re: Patience.

I also did the phased change, but I had the benefit of having all my apartment to myself. When I moved in, everything was 100w incandescent, so what I did was that I let them burn out, then I started replacing the burnt out bulbs with the remaining ones in the apartment that were in areas I rarely used. Only 'till I was down to 3 bulbs did I go and mass-purchase CFLs to substitute all of my bulbs. Then I just left the 100w ones in the rarely used areas, those were substituted as soon as they burned out which did take a while. My whole apartment went full CFL sometime around 2007.

LEDs are still too expensive for my taste, so the few CFLs that have burned out have still been replaced by CFLs. I guess it'll be about 3 years before LED bulbs drop down to the affordable range.

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Re: Patience.

if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

If it aint' broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

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Re: Patience.

"Only last year I changed the last lightbulb out for the low energy long lasting types"

I changed out for CFLs over a decade ago. Even name brands (eg: GE) bought at chain stores (B&Q) have had spotty lifespans (6 weeks in one case).

Now the CFLs are EOL, I'm changing for LEDs. Only the security lights are left to change.

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I think it's not just "bulb" LED's that are the problem here.

LED TV's haven't taken off.

OLED's have died a death.

And traditional LED's (such as the superbrights, RGB LED's, SMD5050, etc.) are so cheap and mass-market now as to make virtually no profit at all, I imagine.

I've worked in a few schools that went all-LED for their Sports Hall lighting and things like that. Very impressive and bright, but you don't actually save all that much once you get into the long run, plus the initial cost.

I think, as a whole, the entire LED segment of electronics is on a spiral to the cheapest possible way to do things, and that doesn't generate a lot of profit for anybody.

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"I think, as a whole, the entire LED segment of electronics is on a spiral to the cheapest possible way to do things, and that doesn't generate a lot of profit for anybody."

Maybe, but I think a bigger problem is that good quality LEDs last so long that there's no replacement market. Not quite the everlasting lightbulb, but near enough in commercial terms as to make no difference.

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OLED is not dead...its just pining for the fjords

>>OLED's have died a death.

Hmmm no they haven't and its what is going to make LG display devision turn a profit in the coming year.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-09-15/lg-display-sees-oled-profit-as-talks-continue-with-sony

The biggest challenge for OLED TV sales was the high price tag, about double that of the trad set but as everyone in the Television and Film industry will tell you the adoption of this technology is at a pace in production and film making and its just going to drive prices down to that the more trad high definition set. over the next year or so.

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Disagree

It's just that CREE has eaten them...

There is money in making leds.. you just have to produce at low cost with good quality.

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Ledswinger's right.

LED is being fitted in places like school gyms and streetlamps to reduce the cost of the access needed to replace the lamps, and improve the quality of the light.

A school sports hall would previously have used high-bay halogens (3000 hours) or CDMs (5-10,000 hours).

The lamps cost very little, and the CDMs will have been more efficacious, but the access equipment physically needed to go up and change the lamps is very expensive!

If the LED luminaire saves them 5 to 7 lamp changes, that's a lot of very expensive "man up a picker" hours - and at least 10 years.

However, the people who made that LED luminaire are only ever going to sell one set of them to that school!

Heck, the lamps might even outlast the building itself...

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LEDs, Long Life

THat is correct, the LED itself will last a long time however what is a major pain is the junk pwoer driver that is incorporate into them. This is that part that always fails and then renders the bulb useless. LED lighting has to addres this and separate the LED from the driver. In most cases the driver is the cheapest switched mode psu chip and a crummy circuit wedged onto a board. The board gets hot from the LED and the fact that it is under rated with teh requried current,. Result ***POP****, no more light. I have taken numerous GU10 LED bulbs apart that have failed and they all have knackered drivers.

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"I think, as a whole, the entire LED segment of electronics is on a spiral to the cheapest possible way to do things, and that doesn't generate a lot of profit for anybody."

WTF? How does this make any sense? Would that same logic apply to computers and electronics in general? "[the computer industry] is on a spiral to the cheapest possible way to do things, and that doesn't generate a lot of profit for anybody."

Sounds ridiculous when you think about it like that, no?

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"LED TV's haven't taken off."

Updating an old CRT to a flatscreen was an easy sell.

Updating a 3 year old flat screen to another flat screen is a lot harder sell.

(I just pulled the CCFLs out of my 7 year old flatscreen TV and replaced with led backlights. 13 quid vs 300 is a nobrainer.)

"OLED's have died a death."

Not at all. Same problem as above.

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"but you don't actually save all that much once you get into the long run, plus the initial cost."

The real savings are labour + H&S - Once you change a led lamp, it should last at least a decade, which means you're not paying for people to climb ladders and change the lamps every 2 years.

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Led lifespan

"Maybe, but I think a bigger problem is that good quality LEDs last so long that there's no replacement market."

More lights, more dispersed - and there's a huge market opening up in areas which couldn't previously afford to run lighting at all (offgrid, etc)

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Vic
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Updating an old CRT to a flatscreen was an easy sell.

Not to me, it isnt.

CRTs have a number of disadvantages, but when the images is supposed to be black, they go black. Proper black. LCDs give you a rather washed-out grey...

I'm hoping flat-screen TVs[1] will catch up to the quality of proper CRTs, but I'll not be holding my breath...

Vic.

[1] Plasma TVs can often match CRTs - but offer few advantages, and are far too fragile & expensive for my liking.

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Hey Vic

You should really have another look at the latest TVs. They used to a have a problem with blacks, especially compared with plasma, but they've come a long way since then.

And they're a hell of a lot lighter to move!!! Even versus the old plasma screens.

With OLED black IS the new black.

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Vic
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Re: Hey Vic

You should really have another look at the latest TVs

I did - a few *hours* after posting, my CRT TV died - it took on a bright yellow cast :-(

I now have a 40" Samsung LED unit. The blacks aren't wonderful, but I'll get used to it, I guess. But it plays directly form my USB drive, so the benefits are quite good :-)

With OLED black IS the new black.

Yeah, but OLED is more money than I want to pay right now...

Vic.

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Re: Hey Vic

Good for you.

I can't remember now what I paid for a Panasonic 42 incher OLED HD not long ago here in NZ, but whatever I paid, was probably over-priced for what can be got now, as they can now be bought for NZ$599, around £300. I notice a Samsung 40 incher is dearer at NZ$649 (£325).

I don't know what your Sammie is like for blacks but the Panasonic is very good.

Obviously I don't know your circumstances but personally I think that those sorts of prices are bloody cheap for OLED.

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Once you've made the switch to a flat screen, watching a CRT is like staring at a strobe light

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Unhappy

Bring back Tungsten filaments...

...i miss the old 40 watters....and CRT tellies

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