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. No other display technology creates light directly like this: LCDs use color filters and light-blocking liquid crystals above a light-creating backlight. Plasmas use UV light created by igniting pockets of gas to excite phosphors.

Flexible OLED TV concept (Sony)

This means that OLED screens are thinner, lighter, more efficient and offer better performance and color quality than other existing technologies. Each pixel can be shut off, providing absolute black and amazing contrast ratio.

OLED TVs

OLED televisions are the newest technology in the TV world. They deliver the best picture quality available today, outdoing LED LCD. But on top of being thinner, lighter and more efficient than other TVs, they can also boast a curved form.

Curved OLED TVs hold unique advantages. It 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 elimiates 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.

Bendable OLED TVs

Bendable OLED TVs are a novel concept, allowing 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 bendable OLED TV market

While bendable TVs are quite cool, it seems that as curved TVs have fallen out of grace in 2015 (most consumers prefer a flat one) TV makers are no longer developing bendable TVs.

In January 2014, LG unveiled a bendable 77’’ OLED TV, that can change from flat to curved (using a "combination of water and motors" - according to company statements). When at full curve, the curve is eight centimeters in total. LG said it will release a bendable OLED TV in 2015 - but this never materialized.

In 2014 Samsung also showcased a 55’’ bendable OLED TV prototype, and also an 85’’ bendable model that might be an OLED. Samsung pulled out of the OLED TV market later, though.

Rollable OLED TVs

While bendable OLED TVs seem to be out of focus at this stage, TV makers are already developing the next stage - rollable OLED TVs. In 2017 LG Display demonstrated a 77" flexible and transparent OLED display and the company aims to start producing rollable large-area (55 to 75 inch) OLED TVs in 2020.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)

Further reading

Latest Bendable OLED TV news

LGD brings a rollable 65" OLED TV to CES 2018

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.

LGD 65'' rollable OLED TV, CES 2018

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.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

LG announces six new OLED TVs, including the world's first bendable TV

LG Electronics announced six new OLED TVs - including some curved TVs, some flat ones - and also the world's first bendable TV. All of LG's new TVs use 4K resolution. LG Display says that LG is committed to the "superior qualities of OLED" and sees 2015 as the breakout year for OLED TVs.

LG OLED TVs at CES 2015

So the most interesting TV is probably the EG9900, which features a 77" 4K OLED panel that can be switched from a flat state to a curved one. It uses a newly developed anti-glare filter and is powered by a ten-core processor (!). LG did not disclose the price and release date of this TV. But it'll probably be very expensive as the company's fixed curved 77" 4K OLED was priced at $29,999 in 2014.

LG sees foldable and rollable OLED devices by 2017

LG Display posted an interesting article explaining their plastic-based flexible OLED technologies and displays - showing how these displays are better than LCD displays in several aspects (mainly the fact that plastic OLEDs are thinner than LCDs and glass-based OLEDs). In addition, LG Display posted their flexible OLED roadmap:

As you can see, LG already produces flexible OLEDs for phones and wearable devices. In 2015-2016 the company sees flexible OLEDs being adopted in tablets and bendable phones. From 2017, LGD sees flexible OLEDs being used to produce foldable and rollable devices.

LG aims to launch a bendable OLED TV in 2015

In January 2014, LG unveiled a bendable 77" 4K OLED - a TV that can change from flat to curved (using a "combination of water and motors" - whatever that means). When at full curve, the curve is eight centimeters in total. An LG official now says that LG plans to release such a bendable OLED TV in 2015.

We do not know what will be the size of their first bendable TV, but it sure is going to be expensive. But this is actually a neat idea because it means you can wall-mount the TV on the wall and keep it flat, and only curve it when you want to watch it and when it makes sense. A 2015 release is actually in line with LG's original plan in early 2014.

LG Display still hopes to produce 60" transparent flexible UHD OLEDs by 2017

Back in June 2012 LG was awarded with Korea's ambitious Future Flagship Program that aims to develop 60" flexible transparent UHD OLED displays by 2017. This project raised a few eyebrows and was never mentioned again. Now we hear that LG Display is still developing the technology, and still says that the want to be ready with a real product by the end of 2017.

Flexible OLED TV concept (Sony)Flexible OLED TV concept (Sony)

LGD is currently developing a 17" transparent flexible OLED and they hope to ready a prototype by the end of 2014. If this is successful, LGD will move on to the next stage - the 60" UHD panel. This panel will feature 40% transmittance and a curvature radius of 10 cm.

LG's bendable 77" OLED TV prototype on video

LG unveiled a bendable 77" 4K OLED TV prototype a couple of days ago - this panel can change from flat to curved at the press of the button, allowing consumers to enjoy a single TV that can be both flat and curved. We finally got a video showing this interesting new prototype in action:

This is just a prototype, but LG actually plan to ship this bendable TV to the US in late 2014 or early 2015. Samsung has their own bendable OLED TV at CES, by the way.

Samsung enveils a bendable OLED TV prototype

Updated: it turns out that the 85" bendable TV prototype is an LCD, but Samsung indeed also shows smaller (55") bendable OLEDs.

Yesterday we reported that Samsung unveiled a 85" bendable TV prototype at CES, and at that post I assumed that this was an LCD panel. But I'm happy to be mistaken - it's actually an OLED, as you can see from Samsung's booth photo clearly saying this is a bendable OLED TV:

It actually seems to me that those OLED TVs in the photo above aren't so big - it seems to be around 55" in size and not 85". So perhaps these are different prototype, I'm not sure, but now it seems likely that the 85" prototype bendable TV is also an OLED.