Rich Warren: Torn on taking the OLED plunge

Rich Warren: Torn on taking the OLED plunge

Considering the increasing intricacies and complexities of your questions, I'm tempted to rename this column "The Reluctant Techie." We've recently received some challenging emails.

Q: "Having witnessed the amazing tech advancements in TVs during my lifetime, I am usually torn between buying the latest and greatest or being more patient. I am currently fighting the urge to pull the trigger on OLED. Monitoring sale prices and zeroing in on 55-inch LG b7 model. Would prefer Sony, as have always been a Sony guy, but don't need their enhanced sound and higher cost as I will use a surround-sound system. Is OLED worth the current cost, or with crazy-low pricing on very good 4K smart LCD TVs, should I go that route and wait for lower OLED prices, more 4K programming to take real advantage of the picture quality and more of a track record for OLED TVs? I also read your current column with some concern mentioning the fragility of OLED panels."

A: OLED TVs developed a good track record over the past year. They also upconvert to 4K, improving the quality of standard 1080p HD programming.

I chose the LG over the Sony for the same reason as you suggest. Also, the LG is my first non-Sony TV. As far as whether OLED is better than older, less-expensive technology, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every time I watch my three-month old OLED TV, I marvel at the accuracy and vibrancy of the colors, along with its true deep blacks.

Samsung markets the only other technology that comes close with its deviously named QLED. However, Samsung's QLED sets (and that "Q" is not related to "O") cost the same as the LG OLED sets. The question boils down to whether a $1,600 OLED set is worth $700 more than a premium LCD-LED set? That $900 "conventional" set looks pretty amazing. Go to a local dealer, such as Good Vibes, and ask the salesperson to place a premium conventional set next to an OLED with the same screen size, picture settings and source material.

OLED prices on current models probably will decline 10 to 15 percent after the January Consumer Electronics Show. You also should keep your eyes open for late holiday sales.

We recently addressed the subject of email. Email flummoxes this reader.

Q: "About three months ago, my email was kicked back from a friend, and then about a month later, it happened to another friend. I called Comcast, and they said it was on the other end. My friends said they had their computer checked out, and nothing was wrong. I took my computer to a local shop, and they could not find anything wrong. Now this has started with a third friend. These are all AOL accounts, and they are using iPads. Any suggestions?"

A: I've suffered frequent issues when sending to AOL and Yahoo addresses. In an attempt to reduce spam and malware, some email services rigidly filter incoming mail. Your email goes through multiple nodes and can be blocked at any point. Comcast is good at policing its network against malware, but all it takes is one burst of malware from a given ISP for other ISPs to temporarily block mail. Using an iPad complicates matters further, since depending upon how the iPad is configured, the incoming mail may also pass through Apple's network. Frustration increases when one ISP blames the other ISP. Since there's no telephone or even online chat help, it's enough to drive you crazy. The full answer is so complicated that I suggest throwing up your hands and reading "Frank's Faves."

Finally, a recent issue of WILL's "Patterns" magazine indicted LED light bulbs for causing interference. Sad, but true, the market is flooded with cheap Chinese bulbs that radiate as much interference as light. Stick with Sylvania/Osram and Cree bulbs. Properly manufactured LED lights cause no interference.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at hifiguy@mchsi.com.

Topics (2):Internet, Technology