You are here

What is an OLED TV?

An OLED TV screen uses a new display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED technology enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than either LCD or Plasma displays. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!

LG EG9600 photo

OLED TV technology

OLED displays are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, light is emitted. OLED displays are emissive and unlike LCDs, do not require a backlight (unlike LCDs). OLED TV panels offers several advantages over LCDs:

  • Faster refresh rate, better contrast (true blacks) and better color reproduction
  • Better form factor - OLED enables much thinner panels
  • Better viewing angle - almost 180 degrees
  • Efficiency - in an OLED display, only the lit pixels draw power, unlike in an LCD.)
  • OLED panels can potentially be made flexible and/or transparent - think rollable TVs!

OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?

As of 2017, only LG Display produces commercial OLED TV panels (although China's BOE is also entering production). 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. Following is a table of LG's 2016 models (LG's 2017 OLEDTV models are just entering the market now as well)

LG OLED65B6P photo
B6 flat 55/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65C6P photo
C6 curved 55/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65E6P photo
E6 flat high-end 55/65" ($3,499 / $4,999)
LG OLED77G6P photo
G6 premium 65/77" TVs ($7,999 / $19,999)

In early 2017 LG launched its 2017 OLED TV models, which are all updates to the 2016 ones. LG also launched it's new flag ship TV - the Wallpaper Signature OLEDW7. These extremely thin TVs (2.57 mm all the way) attach to the wall using magnets.

LG Display also supplies panels to other companies - including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and KTC.

Sony's XBR-A1E, launched in early 2017, is the company's first OLED TV - well, besides the experimental 2008 11" XEL-1. Sony's OLED TV features a flat 4K panel, HDR, Dolby and Android TV. Sony's TV uses a built-in speaker which is part of the stand behind the TV to create a stand-less form factor. Sony will offer the TVs at 55", 65" or 77".

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Panasonic also launched several OLED TVs of its own (all using LGD's panels). The EZ1000 OLED TVs offer professional features in a consumer OLED TVs with several image enhancement technologies.

Panasonic EZ950 photo

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon, and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs. Some reports suggest that Samsung does plan to start producing OLED TVs soon, but the company itself says it has no plans to do so in the near future.

Direct Emission vs WRGB

The basic OLED TV design uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (RGB: Red, Green and Blue) to create each 'pixel'. This is referred to as a direct emission OLED, and is the design used in mobile OLED displays (for example those in Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple's Watch).

For its OLED TVs, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) is much easier to produce and scale-up, even though it has some technical disadvantages.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions?

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. LG is developing a 60" 4K rollable TV, for example, and both LG and Samsung demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes. These kinds of technologies are exciting - and while it will be some years before they reach the market, they could eventually redefine the TV of the future. The first such TVs to be commercialized are likely to be bendable OLED TVs, which were supposed to launch in 2016 but that did not happen yet.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)
Samsung Display 55'' transparent OLED photo

Further reading

Latest OLED TV news

Sony prices its XBR-A1E OLED TVs: $5,000 for the 55" and $6,500 for the 65"

Mar 16, 2017

In January 2017 Sony finally launched its first real OLED TV , the XBR-A1E Bravia OLED TV, and now Sony announced the prices of its TVs: the $4,999 for the 55" model and $6,499 for the 65" one. That's somewhere between LG's OLEDE7 and Signature OLEDG7 OLED TVs. According to Amazon the TVs will ship in a month or two (which means April or May).

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Sony's XBR-A1E feature a flat 4K HDR WRGB OLED panel (produced by LG Display), an Android TV platform and a built-in speaker which is part of the stand behind the TV to create a stand-less form factor. There will also be a 77-inch model, but Sony did not reveal the price of that one yet.

How does LG's Wallpaper OLEDW7 compare to last year's high-end OLEDs?

Mar 14, 2017

LG started shipping the 65" Signature Wallpaper OLED W in the US recently. The price of LG's flagship TV is $7,999 (the 77" will cost $19,999 and will launch later this year). Value Electronics in New York now has one such on display, and the company sent us the following photos and video showing the display in action.

We also discussed the installation and quality of the new TV. Robert Zohn from VE says that the TV wall mounts very easily and the connection is done via the low-voltage control cable which is placed inside the wall. The cable is then connected to the I/O box (which LG calls the AIO box). This creates the beautiful look as the TV has no visible connections and is virtually attached on the wall with a very thin profile.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

LG starts shipping its entry-level OLEDC7 OLED TVs in the US

Mar 07, 2017

LG started to ship its entry-level OLEDC7 OLED TVs in the US - the 55" model costs $2,999 while the 65" one costs $4,497. The 55" model is actually out of stock at Amazon.com (yesterday it was still listed as avialable) but Amazon will ship new orders on the 9th of March.

LG OLEDC7 photo

The OLEDC7 is one of LG's basic models in its 2017 OLED TV lineup, an update to the OLEDC6 series from 2016. Interestingly, the C7 uses a flat panel (unlike the curved one in the C6). These OLED TVs (55" or 65") feature 4K resolution, HDR support (four different standards), WebOS 3.5 and Dolby Atmos sound.

Updates on LG's 2017 OLED TV lineup release dates and prices

Feb 24, 2017

LG revealed its 2017 OLED TV lineup in January at CES, but the company did not yet disclose the price or actual release date of these new TVs. A few days ago we found some initial information on Amazon.com, and today Robert Zohn from Value Electronics updated us with more details.

LG 2017 OLED TV lineup photo

Below you can see the release date and price of LG's entire 2017 OLED TV range, except the entry-level B7 TVs. Roberts though says that LG may of course change the release dates. Prices may also end up lower than official prices, this has been the case every year since LG launched its first OLED TVs in 2013.

Amazon reveals the price of some of LG's 2017 OLED TVs

Feb 17, 2017

LG revealed its 2017 OLED TV lineup in January at CES, but the company did not disclose the prices or actual release date of these new TVs. Well, except the 65" OLEDW7 Wallpaper TV which costs $7,999 and is up for pre-order at Best Buy.

Today Amazon.com published product pages for some of LG's 2017 OLED TVs, with listed prices. Amazon lists the 55" OLEDC7, the 65" OLEDE7 and the 65" OLEDG7 signature TV. Amazon did not yet publish its product page for the OLEDB7, but it's still great to finally know LG's prices for 2017:

BOE Display to establish a $145 million OLED TV production line in Hefei

Feb 07, 2017

BOE Display announced that it signed an agreement with a Hefei municipal government to co-invest 1 billion CNY (around $145 million USD) in a new OLED TV production line in Hefei. BOE will invest 80% of the funds, and the rest will be provided by the Hefei government.

BOE 55'' UHD panel prototypes (Nov 2016)

BOE already has a 8.5-Gen pilot line in Hefei, which is actually producing commercial OLED TV panels, albeit in very small volumes. It 2014 it was reported that BOE plans a $1 billion OLED TV line in Hefei.

LGD progresses with its P10 OLED fab, considering building a Gen-10 TV line

Feb 07, 2017

Towards the end of 2015 LG Display announced that it plans to build a new OLED fab (P10) in Paju in a $8.7 billion investment. The P10 will produce both mid-sized flexible OLED and large-sized OLED TV panels. Production was planned for the first half of 2018.

LG Display P10 construction photo

ETNews now reports that LG is indeed constructing the new fab (as can be seen in the image above) and the company is on track to finish the project by Q2 2018 (although mass production will probable take longer).

LG lowers the price of its high-end 2016 OLEDE6 OLED TVs

Jan 25, 2017

LG lowered the price of its high-end 2016 OLEDE6 OLED TVs - the 55" model costs $2,499 while the 65" model costs $3,999. That's about $1,000 lower than the price before. LG may be starting to lower the price of its 2016 models as it gets ready to release its newer 2017 OLED TVs.

LG OLED65E6P photo

LG's OLEDE6 is a series of flat-panel 4K smart OLED TVs introduced in 2016. The TVs feature an ultra-slim on-glass design, a fixed soundbar, LG's webOS 3.0, Color Prime PRO technology and HDR.

LG Display reports a positive Q4 2016, to put more emphasis on OLED in 2017

Jan 25, 2017

LG Display reported an excellent Q4 2016, with the company's highest quarterly operating profit of $775 million USD. The main drivers for this profit were higher prices of large size LCD panels and a weak Korean Won rate (which also boosted Samsung's profits).

LG 2017 OLED TV lineup photo

LGD also updated on its OLED program. The E5 flexible AMOLED fab is expected to start production in Q3 2016 - which is a slight delay because LGD aimed to start production in the first half of 2016.

Toshiba to launch OLED TVs later this year

Jan 22, 2017

Toshiba announced that it will launch its first OLED TV later this year (probably in March). Toshiba will offer 55" and 65" 4K OLEDs in Japan for ¥700,000 (about $6,100) and ¥900,000 (about $7,900) - which is reportedly similar to LG's high-end OLED TVs in Japan.

Toshiba will use panels produced by LG Display - which is also supplying OLED TV panels to Japan-based Sony and Panasonic.