What is an OLED?
OLED is a light-emitting diode built from thin films of organic electroluminescent material sandwiched between electrodes. Since the materials are luminescent, they produce light when the current is run through them. The direct-emission nature of OLEDs enable it to provide the best quality TVs on the market.
One of the main advantages of OLEDs is their flexible nature. This enables the production of bendable TVs. The idea is that such TVs can change from a flat screen to a curved one (with holds unique advantages for the viewers).
The advantages and disadvantages of curved panels
A curved TV can enhance the viewer’s immersive experience with its curved form, as the screen "wraps around. The curved screen has a curved trajectory similar to a person’s ‘Horopter Line’ allowing the maintenance of a constant focus. Another advantage of a curved TV is that the distance from the viewer is constant (unlike a flat TV in which the middle is closer than the edges). This means that in a flat TV there's a subtle image and color distortion which does not occur in a curved panel. The larger the flat screen and the closer the distance from the screen, the distortion becomes more noticeable.
A curved screen also feels larger and brighter compared to a flat TV. This, again, enhances the viewing experience. It is said that a viewer will feel that the size of a curved TV screen is larger than its actual size. Curved OLED TV also feels brighter because the light coming from the screen is focused on the center of the screen.
One final, and crucial advantage, is reduced reflections. The curved display eliminates reflections from ambient lighting on the sides, and it also reduces specular (mirror) reflections.
Nonetheless, voices arise arguing the disadvantages of curved OLED TVs: there is a claim that in order to get the benefit of a wraparound image, you need to be sitting in a pretty specific place. That sweet spot can be very small, possibly fitting only one viewer. Other faults arguably include limitation of viewing angles, elevated prices and, of course, looking less attractive mounted on a wall.
Curved TV launched at around 2013, but quickly fell out of fashion - and today very little curved TVs are sold, if at all.
Bendable OLED TVs
When people actually considered buying curved TVs, flexible OLED makers started to discuss the option of building bendable OLED TVs - a novel concept that allows a shift from flat to curved screen and vice versa at the press of a button. This enables viewers to enjoy both the flat and curved experiences in one set, encompassing both OLED’s superior image quality and the immersive experience of a curved TV. It can be neatly attached to a wall in its flat form, but curved at will to grant the ultimate viewing experience.
The W82 sports a 65-inch 120Hz WOLED TV panel (produced by LG Display) and features Dolby Vision, HDR10, Skyworth's AI Picture Quality 4K engine, VRR and 240Hz Crystal Motion OLED. The TV will start shipping in May 2021 in China for 29,999 Yuan (around $4,575).
Rollable OLED TVs
While bendable OLED TVs are interesting, another TV technology is becoming commercial - rollable OLED TVs. In 2020 LG started shipping the world's first rollable TV, the 65" 65RX.
The latest bendable OLED TV news:
LG Display demonstrated several exciting OLED display prototypes at Display Week 2023.
First up was the company's 77" 8K Meta (microlens-array) panel - this has been commercialized already, but it is always a wonder to watch this particular display which offers an extraordinary image quality.
Last month LG announced its first bendable OLED monitor/TV, the OLED Flex LX3. The company now announced that it will start shipping it next month, for $2,999.
LG's OLED Flex LX3 is a bendable OLED monitor/TV that features a flexible 42" 4K 120Hz WOLED panel that can change from a flat shape to a 900R curved one (with twenty levels of possible curvature settings). Other features include D0lby Atmos, two 40W speakers, HDMI 2.1, VRR, ALLM and G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync support.
LG Display says that according to an original research it has conducted, OLED is the optical gaming display technology.
In this research, several gamers played different gaming genres on LCD and OLED displays, and on curved and flat displays. The study results show that a gamer’s reaction time can be improved by using OLED, while a display’s curvature provides a more immersive gaming experience.
LG Display has unveiled a new foldable OLED panel, that can fold 360-degrees - both inwards and outwards. The panel is 8.03" in size with a resolution of 2480x2200, and has been tested for over 200,000 folding cycles. LGD says it developed a special folding structure to minimize creasing.
China-based TV maker Skyworth announced two exciting new OLED TVs. First up is the the Skyworth W82, which is the world's first bendable TV, that can change from a flat screen to a curved one (with a curvature radius of 1000R), which Skyworth says is suitable especially for gamers.
The W82 sports a 65-inch 120Hz WOLED TV panel and features Dolby Vision, HDR10, Skyworth's AI Picture Quality 4K engine, VRR and 240Hz Crystal Motion OLED. The TV will start shipping in May 2021 in China for 29,999 Yuan (around $4,575).
LG Display announced that it has developed and employed new OLED technologies, including new OLED materials and a new OLED device structure (with a new added layer) that enabled it to improve the efficiency of its large-area WOLED panels by around 20%. This enabled LGD to increase the brightness of its OLEDs.
The first display to adopt this new structure and materials is the company's 77-inch OLED panel, but LGD will also apply it to its other panels over 2021. LGD also announced that it will start producing 83-inch and 42-inch OLED TV panels, that will join its existing 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 88-inch models.
LG Display will demonstrate a 48-inch bendable gaming monitor, at CES 2021 (January 11). The whole panel is just 0.6 mm thick, which enabled LG to embed its Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO) technology in the monitor, which turns it into a large speaker. The monitor offers a response time of 0.1 ms and a refresh rate of 40Hz to 120Hz.
The display can bend up to radius of 1,000 mm so it can be used both as a flat TV and a curved screen for immersive gaming. This seems to be a prototype display, it's not clear when we'll see a monitor producer adopting it and bringing it to market.
LG Display announced that it will demonstrate several new OLED technologies at CES 2020 in Las Vegas next week (January 7-10).
First up, LG Display will show new applications for the aerospace market - including 55" transparent and flexible OLEDs used in airplane cabins. LG will also demonstrate a 65" bendable OLED TV, suitable for first-class cabins, that enable users to adjust the curvature of the TV to create a more immersive experience when required. It seems as if interest in OLEDs is increasing in the aerospace industry.
LG Electronics is bringing its new OLED TV lineup to CES this week, and LG Display already said it will demonstrate a 88-inch 8K OLED panel at the trade show. However the most exciting display will probably be LGD's newest prototype - a 65" rollable OLED TV that comes with a base that holds the TV when it is rolled away.
This is a prototype display, and it's likely that LGD has no immediate plans to actually release such a display. Last year LGD did say it plans to bring rollable OLED TVs to market by 2020.
LG did not disclose the price, but according to a Danish site, the TV will cost around $50,000 in Denmark (which will be around $38,500 without the 25% VAT).