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The main TV technology on the market today is LED TVs, or actually LED-backlit LCDs. OLED TVs is the next-gen display technology that is slowly gaining market share, even though prices are high and production capacity is still limited for these premium sets.

LG EF9500 flat OLED TV photo



But what is an OLED exactly?

An OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) panel is made from organic (carbon-based) materials that emit light when electricity is applied. An OLED TV is made from millions of pixels, each made from red, green and blue tiny OLED materials.

And what is an LED TV?

As we said above, LED TV is a confusing term - as it should actually be called LED-backlit LCD. This is still LCD technology, but instead of the fluorescent (CCFL) lamps, a LED TV uses LEDs for the white backlighting. While LED LCD TVs look better than CCFL LCDs, they are still no match for OLED panels.

OLED vs LCD

OLED displays have the following advantages over LCD displays:

  • OLED offer a better image quality - even with the latest quantum-dots enhanced LED TVs, OLEDs still provide a far better contrast and refresh rates.
  • OLEDs consume less power (as only lit pixels draw power)
  • OLEDs can be made flexible. Bendable TVs will soon hit the market, and in the future we'll even have rollable TVs, too.
  • OLEDs are thinner and lighter

Of course OLEDs aren't perfect. The major problem with OLEDs today is the high price, as the TVs are sold at a high premium over LED TVs. This is mostly because production capacity is still low - but this will change in the future and eventually OLEDs may prove to be cheaper than LEDs as they have a simpler structure.

OLED TVs on the market

The only company that currently produces OLED TV panels is LG Display. 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 the high-end 77EG9900 is a bendable TV).

LG EG9100 photo
55" Full-HD curved TV ($1,999)
LG EG9600 photo
55" and 65" curved 4K OLEDs ($2,999 / $4,999)
LG EF9500 photo
55" and 65" flat 4K OLEDs ($2,999 / $4,999)
LG E9900 photo
77" bendable OLED TV

LG's cheapest OLED TV is currently the 55EG9100, a curved 55" Full-HD TV that is currently shipping for $1,999. All of LG's 2015 OLED TV models support 4K resolution. The curved 55" 4K 55EG9600 is now shipping for $2,999, while the 65" 65EG9600 is shipping for $4,999. LG's flat 4K OLEDs (the EF9500 series) are shipping for about the same prices.

LG Display also supplies panels to other companies (including Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and KTC in China) and is also collaborating with Panasonic and Grundig and Sony. Panasonic announced their first OLED TV, the 65" curved 4K TX-65CZ950, but it is not shipping yet.

Further reading