You are here

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a new display technology that is brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than an LCD display. OLEDs deliver the best picture quality ever and are used in high-end smartphones and tablets.

The idea of an OLED monitor is exciting consumers as such a device will offer an unparalleled viewing experience and a thin form factor. But OLED monitors are not on the market yet. This article will explain the benefits, the current status and the future of OLED monitors.

Why is an OLED monitor better than an LCD one?

  • OLED provide a better image quality with a much higher contrast (true blacks), wide color gamut, better viewing angles and a much faster refresh rate
  • OLED panels are much thinner and lighter compared to LCD panels
  • An OLED monitor would consume less power - as only lit pixels draw energy on OLED displays. An almost black screen will require very little power
  • An OLED monitor could be flexible or even transparent

Why aren't there any OLED monitors on the market?

Of course OLED technology is not perfect. One of the major drawbacks of an OLED display is image retention (burn-in). In an OLED display each pixel is driven independently and each pixel ages differently - the brightness is reduced with use. To put it simply - a pixel that was used a lot will be less bright than a pixel that hasn't been driven as much.

For mobile phones and TVs this is less of a problem - but in a computer user interface many UI elements are quite fixed (toolbars, icons, etc) which means that burn-in is a real problem. There are some technologies to handle this problem - for example by measurement and compensation, and the lifetime of OLED displays is improving all the time. In addition user-interface designers can design a user interface that will be more suited for OLED displays.

OLED monitors on the market

After years of waiting and seeing OLEDs adopted in a wide range of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, TVs and wearables, in early 2016 Dell announced the world's first OLED monitor, the Ultrasharp 30 OLED. This was a 30" high-end monitor with a price tag of $4,999. Sadly, Dell later scrapped plans for this product. According to reports, Dell was unhappy with the image quality of that OLED panel, but this isn't confirmed.

Currently there are no consumer OLED monitors available on the market. For the professional market, Sony is offering several monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 30") and in several series. Sony already sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and their latest monitor is the 30" 4K BVM-X300. These are professional monitors, though, aimed for broadcasting and post production applications.

Further reading

Latest OLED Monitor news

Dell cancels its 2016 30" OLED monitor

Jan 19, 2017

According to reports, Dell canceled its high-end 30" 4K OLED monitor, the Ultrasharp 30 OLED. Dell announced the monitor at CES 2016 (one year ago, exactly) and promised it will ship by the end of March 2016 for $4,999.

Apparently Dell were unhappy with the image quality of that OLED panel - especially the amount of color drift that it displayed when you viewed the monitor from the sides - which is surprising because OLED's viewing angles are excellent.

Dell announces a $4,999 30" 4K OLED monitor

Jan 07, 2016

Dell launched a new monitor, the Ultrasharp 30 OLED. This high-end monitor adopts a 30" 4K OLED panel and features a 0.1 ms response time, 100% AdobeRGB, narrow-bezel design and USB-C connection. The UltraSharp 30 OLED will ship by the end of March 2016 for $4,999.Dell UltraSharp 30 OLED photo

Dell said that it developed special technologies to compensate for image-burn in (using pixel-shifting) and the relatively short OLED lifetime (using a presence detector that switches off the display when no one is in front of the monitor).

OLED Handbook

LG Display aims to produce OLED panels for monitors in laptops by 2017

Dec 09, 2015

According to ETNews, LG display aims to start producing OLED panels for computer monitors and laptops. LG wants to diversify their OLED product lineup, and this seems like a logical next step. ETNws estimates that the first monitors will be released in 2016 or 2017.

Samsung SDI 12.1'' OLED laptop prototypeSamsung 12.1 inch laptop prototype, 2009

LG Display is currently focused to solve the burn-in problem inherent with OLEDs which is a problem with monitors. LG also sees blurred-images on their OLEDs when used with different image sizes and monitor frequencies and has to solve that as well. LGD will first produce monitor panels and notebooks will come next as prices will have to be lower for that market segment.

JOLED to establish a $161 million OLED research and production facility in Japan

Aug 06, 2015

According to a report from Japan, JOLED is set to establish a new OLED research facility in Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture in a $161 investment. The facility will include a pilot line that will be able to produce samples by the end of 2016, and the facility will also evolve into a mass production fab that will begin production by 2018 (this will require, of course, a much larger investment).

JDI 5.2'' film-type OLED prototype (SID 2015)

JOLED is mainly targeting medium sized (10 to 30 inch displays) to be used in tablets, laptops and monitors. JOLED is reportedly in talks with Apple regarding a possible iPad AMOLED supply agreement. This new report from Japan actually suggests that Apple aims to team up with both LGD and JOLED for a tablet OLED supply agreement - with LG Display to start supplying tablet OLEDs at the end of 2016 and JOLED To join when the new facility is ready in 2018.

LG Display to enter the professional OLED monitor market in 2016

Jun 18, 2015

According to reports from Korea, LG Display intends to produce OLED displays to used in professional broadcast-type monitors in 2016. These are probably medium to large sized displays (10" to 30") and these kinds of applications carry a high margin. The reports further say that Samsung Display is also considering entering this market.

Sony BVM-X300-photoSony BVM-X300

Sony currently offers several professional monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 30") and in several series. Sony's OLED monitors provide a superior image quality compared to LCDs, and the cost difference is not so large because in these premium products the cost of the panel itself is a small portion of the total product cost. Sony already sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and their latest monitor is the 30" 4K BVM-X300. Sony's OLED monitor success may be what's motivating LG and Samsung to enter this market.

SDC to unveil a new 14" OLED panel, Samsung finally developing an OLED laptop?

Oct 14, 2014

Samsung LogoA couple of months ago I posted an article about OLED monitors and laptop displays in which I discussed why there isn't any such product on the market yet. Today the Korea Times reports that Samsung Display will today unveil new 14" OLED panels at the IMID 2014 tradeshow in Korea.

If this report is correct, this is very interesting - as it probably means that Samsung Electronics is finally developing a laptop device with an OLED display. This could also be used in a large tablet (perhaps with a keyboard attachment) or a laptop/tablet hybrid device. We'll probably know more later when we have a real report from IMID.

Sony launches a 30" 4K professional OLED monitor

Oct 03, 2014

In April 2013 Sony showed a prototype 30" 4K OLED panels at NAB 2013, promising to release them in 2014. Now the company officially launched this professional OLED monitor product, while shipments will begin in February 2015. Price is not determined yet, but it'll sure be expensive...

Sony BVM-X300-photo

Sony's BVM-X300 is Sony's flagship professional monitor. Besides the 30" 4K (4096x2016) OLED panel (produced by Sony), it features a high dynamic range, wide viewing angles, quick response and high contrast. The BMV-X300 can display 4K, 2K, UHD and HD formats and supports wide color gamut standards.

Where are the OLED monitors and OLED laptops?

Aug 18, 2014

An OLED-Info reader recently raised the question - where are the OLED laptops and OLED monitors? This is an interesting question. Samsung currently produces AMOLEDs ranging in size from 1.63" for wearables to 10.5" tablet displays and LG Display is mass producing 55", 65" and even 77" OLED TVs.

Samsung SDI 12.1'' OLED laptop prototypeSamsung 12.1 inch laptop prototype, 2009

It seems that technically there shouldn't be a problem producing 13-15 inch OLED panels for laptops or even 20-25 inch panels for monitors. In terms of pixel density, these panels will be simpler to make compared to Samsung's mobile phone panels. Even a 13" 4K laptop panel will require only 339 PPI - much lower than SDC's latest 5.1" QHD panels (577 PPI). And of course SDC can start with a 15" FHD panel (146 PPI) which is easier to produce.

Sony still promises a 30" 4K professional OLED monitor in 2014

Apr 22, 2014

In April 2013 Sony showed a prototype 30" 4K OLED panels at NAB 2013, promising to release them in 2014. A couple of weeks ago at this year's NAB, Sony showed the panels again, this time as real product prototypes (and not just panels). The company still aims to deliver the 30" OLED monitors in 2014.

Sony 30'' 4K OLED monitor prototype photo

The 30" panels ofer 4K (4096x2160) resolution and will be made at Sony's Nagoya fab - the same fab that makes Sony's current 17" and 25" panels. The new product will be very similar to Sony's current PVM X300 4K, but with an OLED instead of the LCD.

Video shows the viewing angle enhancements in Sony's new OLED panels

Apr 30, 2013

Update: Sony pulled off the video, it is no longer available.

Early in April Sony unveiled the new "A" Series of their TRIMASTER EL professional OLED monitors. The new series uses an improved OLED panel that sports better viewing angles and a greatly reduced color shift (this was achieved by a redesigned pixel construction). Sony published a short and interesting video that compares the viewing angles between the new panels (on the top) and the old ones.