When South Korea’s LG introduced its OLED technology, they set a new standard for display quality. In 2016, their 65-inch OLED TV was selling for $5,999. This Christmas, you can buy one at Walmart or Amazon for $1,797. The new unit also comes with built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+.
Since we buy things with money but pay for them with time, we prefer to analyze the cost of this beautiful display using time prices. To calculate the time price, we divide the nominal price of the display by the nominal wage. That will give us the number of hours of work required to earn enough money to buy the system.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the blue-collar hourly wage has increased by 21.5 percent over the last five years, from $21.72 per hour in 2016 to $26.40 in 2021. Thus, the time price of the 65-inch display for a blue-collar worker declined by 75.4 percent from 276.2 hours in 2016 to 68.07 hours in 2021. As such, blue-collar workers could buy four displays in 2021 for the same length of time of work it took to buy just one in 2016.
Beautiful screens have become 305.8 percent more abundant, growing at a compound annual rate of around 32.3 percent a year. If this trend continues, the 65-inch display in 2026 will cost around 16.77 hours of work.