OLED is a new display technology, made from organic materials. OLEDs are efficient, thin, provide a great picture quality, and can even be made flexible and transparent. LG is developing and producing OLED TVs - it's actually the world's first company to offer large sized OLED TVs. LG is also working towards flexible OLEDs for mobile devices and OLED lighting panels via its LG Chem subsidiary.
LG OLED TVs
LG Display is the only company that produces commercial OLED TV panels. LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". Some of these are flat, and some are curved, and all the latest models support 4K (UHD) resolution and HDR. Reviews of LG's OLED TVs are great, and most experts say that these are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality.
LG's cheapest OLED TV is currently the 55EG9100, a curved 55" Full-HD TV that is currently shipping for around $1,499. All of LG's 2016 OLED TV models support 4K resolution. The curved 55" 4K OLEDB6 is the company's entry-level model for 2016, and it costs around $2497. The OLED C6 series uses curved panels, and the high end OLED E6 sport a premium on-glass design, and the 55" model costs $3,499 while the 65" model costs $4,999. Finally, LG's top-end Signature G6 is now shipping for $5,999 for the 65" model (the 77" costs $19,999!).
LG's TV is based on LG Display's Oxide-TFT white-OLED with color filters (WOLED, or WRGB, more on this below) OLED panel. LG are quite excited of this new TV - they call it calling it the "Ultimate Display" and they say that this is the "most transformational moment" in the TV industry since the introduction of the color TV 60 years ago. LG's production capacity is still relatively low, and the company plans to produce around 1.7 million OLED TV panels in 2017.
LG small Flexible OLEDs
LG currently produces plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, with a monthly capacity of 14,000 substrates (more than double its capacity in the beginning of 2014). LG Display's flexible AMOLEDs were used in LG's mobile phones (the G Flex 2) and are currently used in wearable devices (such as the Watch Urbane) and in Apple's Watch and Watch Series 2.
LG's flexible OLED capacity is quite limited at this stage, but the company announced plans to expand its small OLED production - the E5 6-Gen (1500x1850 mm) flexible OLED fab was announced in July 2015, and this $900 million line will have a capacity of 7,500 monthly substrates - or 1.5 million 5.5" panels. The new fab is scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2017.
LGD was also selected by the Korean government to lead a project that aims to produce 60" flexible and transparent UHD OLED panels by 2017.
LG Transparent OLEDs
LG are also working on transparent OLEDs. As part of the project that we mentioned before, in 2014 LGD unveiled a new 18" transparent OLED prototype. In early 2016 LGD demonstrated transparent 55" FHD AMOLED display prototypes. These panels are not yet in production, but hopefully LG will start producing these eventually.
LG OLED Lighting
LG Chem is developing and producing OLED lighting panels, and the company is one of the leaders in OLED lighting. The company produces several panels, including the world's largest OLEDs (at 320x320 mm) and the world's first flexible OLEDs (on a glass substrate). LG Chem's panels are efficient (at around 80 lm/W) and last for 40,000 hours (LT70).
LG Chem currently has a small production line, but the company is constructing a Gen-5 OLED lighting fab that will enter production in early 2017. The new fab will enable LG to increase production volume and cut prices dramatically.
Kodak's OLED technology
Back in December 2009, LG bought Kodak's OLED business - mainly for the OLED IP. LG paid $100 million for the OLED unit. Kodak had many basic OLED patents as they were the early pioneers behind this technology.
LG's WRGB (White-OLED with color filters, or WOLED-CF) design used in their upcoming OLED TVs is based on technology developed at Kodak. WRGB TVs are less efficient than direct-emission OLEDs (because the color filters absorb some of the light) but they are easier to fabricate because there's no need to pattern subpixels. LG indeed managed to start producing OLED TVs before Samsung.
The latest LG OLED News:
- Amazon reveals the price of some of LG's 2017 OLED TVs
- LG and Google launch two new smartwatches with round flexible OLEDs
- LGD progresses with its P10 OLED fab, considering building a Gen-10 TV line
- Video shows LGD's new CES OLED technologies
- LG lowers the price of its high-end 2016 OLEDE6 OLED TVs
- LG Display reports a positive Q4 2016, to put more emphasis on OLED in 2017
- Yeolight opens an OLED lighting exhibition center