Article last updated on: Jan 17, 2019

OLED is an emerging display technology that uses thin films of organic materials to make efficient, thin and high quality displays. OLED panels can made flexible, rollable and transparent. Korea's LG is at the forefront of OLED development and production - as the world's only OLED TV producer and a leading developer of flexible OLED and OLED lighting panels. LG's subsidiary LG Display is responsible for OLED R&D and panel production, while LG Electronics produces and markets OLED TVs.

LG OLED TVs

LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup include the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 (which attaches to the wall using magnets), the OLED-on-glass OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8. The only TV that is shipping now is the 55" OLEDC8 which is priced at $2,500 (note: this is an affiliated link to Amazon).

As of 2018, the only company that produces produces commercial OLED TV panels is LG Display, and LG Electronics is the leading OLED TV producer - although LGD also supplies OLED panels to other companies including including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and others.

LG OLEDW8 photoLG 2018 OLEDW8

Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, and most experts and consumers agree that these OLED TVs are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality and beautiful form factors. LG is also developing next-generation OLED TV technologies, and has recently demonstrated a 65" rollable TV.

While the basic OLED TV design uses RGB OLED sub-pixels to create each 'pixel' (what is referred to as direct emission OLED, the design used in mobile OLED displays used in Samsung's and Apple's smartphones, for example), LG Display opted for a different OLED TV design. The so-called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) architecture uses four white OLED subpixels with color filters on top (hence W+RBG). 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 - and it is the technology that enabled LG to be the first company to actually produce commercial OLED TV panels.



LG Flexible OLEDs for mobile devices

LG currently produces flexible OLEDs (branded as pOLEDs), for both wearable devices and smartphones. LG is the exclusive supplier of AMOLED displays for Apple's Watch smartwatch and it also supplies OLED displays for smartphones - such as the 6.4" 1440x3120 notch-type pOLED used in LG Electronics's V40 ThinQ, introduced in October 2018 and the 6" QHD+ display used by Sony in its Xperia XZ3 flagship. Click here for more information on LG's pOLED displays and its production capabilities.

LG V40 ThinQ photo

LG Transparent OLEDs

LG are also working on transparent OLEDs. In 2014 LGD unveiled a 18" transparent OLED prototype, and later in 2016 LGD demonstrated transparent 55" FHD AMOLED display prototypes. These panels are not yet in production, but hopefully LG will start producing these eventually.

LG OLED Light

LG Display is developing and producing OLED lighting panels, and the company is one of the leaders in OLED lighting. The company produces several panels, including flexible OLED panels and high efficiency panels. In December 2017 LG started mass production at its new 5-Gen OLED lighting fab in Gumi, Korea.

LG Chem truly flexible OLED lighting panel photo

The 5-Gen line has an initial capacity of 15,000 substrates per month - about 30 times the capacity of LG's previous 2-Gen line that had a monthly capacity of 4,000 substrates. LG hopes that the new line will enable it to produces OLED lighting panels at a much lower cost (initial estimates suggested a 95% cost reduction!) which it hopes will trigger the widespread adoption of OLED lighting globally.

Further reading

Latest LG OLED news

The Elec: LG and Samsung will supply AMOLEDs to Apple's iPhone 12

The Elec reports that Apple ordered around 55 million AMOLED panels for its iPhone 12 smartphone series, which will be announced later this year. LG Display will supply around around 20 million AMOLEDs - which is a big increase from the 5 million OLEDs LGD supplied for Apple's previous generation phones.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

According to The Elec, LG will supply the panels for Apple's iPhone 12 Max (6.1"), while Samusng will supply all the panels for the iPhone 12 (5.4"), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1") and iPhone 12 Pro max (6.7").

LGD pushes back production at its Guangzhou OLED TV fab to Q3 2020

LG Display's original plan was to start producing OLED TV panels at its 8.5-Gen OLED fab in Guangzhou in October 2019, but the company faced technical issues, pushed back production to the end of January 2020 - but fixing these issues took longer than expected.

LG Display 8.5-gen OLED TV fab in Guangzhou, China

The CoronaVirus outbreak caused LGD further delays, and mass production was again delayed to 'early' Q2 2020. The latest news from Korea suggests that now LGD has pushed back production in the Guangzhou fab to Q3 2020. The cause of these delays, is again yield issues, slow engineering work due to the Coronavirus isolation - and lower demand in the market (which seems to suggest that LGD is not in a rush to begin production).

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

DSCC details the iPhone 12 screens and OLED suppliers

DSCC posted an interesting blog post, in which they detail what they believe to be Apple's iPhone 12 smartphone family specifications.

Apple iPhone 12 range - specs and OLED suppliers (DSCC May 2020)

So we start with the iPhone 12, which will use a 5.42" 2348x1048 (476 PPI) flexible AMOLED display, produced by Samsung Display. DSCC believes the iPhone 12 will use a Y-OCTA integrated touch. DSCC believes that while BOE did not manage to get its panel to the iPhone 12, it may become a supplier in 2021 to the iPhone 12s - if all goes well with the iPhone 12 Max (see below).

DSCC - OLED material sales will grow from $951 million in 2019 to $2.69 billion in 2024

DSCC updated its OLED material market estimates, saying that AMOLED stack material sales will grow from $951 million in 2019 to $2.69 billion in 2024 - a CAGR of 23%. These new estimates take into account DSCC's reduced input area forecast due to the slowdown in demand cased by the Covid-19 pandemic.

AMOLED material revenues (2019-2024, DSCC)

DSCC says that incremental improvements in material utilization and price reductions, material costs per square meters will decline in the future. The unyielded cost of producing a square meter of a WOLED TV panel will decline from $95.21 in 2019 to $56.11 in 2024.

LG expects a 10% decline in OLED TV panel shipments in Q2 2020

According to reports from Korea, LG Display expects a decline of up to 10% in demand for OLED TV panels in Q2 2020, due to the CoronaVirus pandemic.

LG BX OLED TV photo

LGD's original plan was to ship over 6 million OLED TV panels in 2020 - which include the smaller 48" OLED TV panels launched at CES 2020. In its latest note, DSCC sees 4.5 million OLED TV panels being produced in 2020, while Omdia's forecast is for only 3.5 million TVs.

LG Display reports disappointing results for Q1 2020 as COVID-19 lowers demand for smartphones and TVs

LG Display reported its financial results for Q1 2020. LGD's revenues were 4.7 trillion Won ($3.8 billion USD), decreased 26% from the previous quarter and 20% from Q1 2019. The company's net loss in the quarter was 199 billion Won ($161 million USD).

LG GX OLED TV photo

LGD's revenues and earnings were below analysts expectations - the company's business was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which caused lower demand for smartphones and TV panels (which were also hit due to the postponing of major sporting events). LCD panel prices have also taken a hit.

Here are LGD's transparent OLEDs used in MBC Korea Elections broadcast

A few days ago we reported that MBC studio in Korea will use LGD transparent OLED displays in its 2020 Korean Election broadcast. The broadcast took place yesterday, and included six such T-OLED displays:

LG Display's transparent OLEDs feature a brightness of 150 cd/m2 (peak white brightness of 400 cd/m2) and a transparency of 38% and a color gamut of 120% NTSC. The display can optionally include touch functionality.

MBC Studio in Korea to use LGD's transparent OLED TVs in election results broadcast

LG Display announced that MBC Studio will adopt the company's transparent OLED screens in its Korean 2020 election result broadcast tomorrow (April 15). In February 2019 LG Display started producing its 55" FHD transparent commercial OLED displays, and LGD says that this is the first time its transparent OLEDs will be featured in a high rating broadcast (but this isn't so - see note below on DR1's June 2019 broadcast).

LG Display transparent OLEDs at MBC Studio, Korea Electroni 2020

LG Display's transparent OLEDs feature a brightness of 150 cd/m2 (peak white brightness of 400 cd/m2) and a transparency of 38% and a color gamut of 120% NTSC. The display can optionally include touch functionality.

Omdia lowers its OLED TV forecast to 3.5 million units in 2020

Market research company Omdia (previous IHS Markit) have revised down its global TV outlook - and say that it expects only 3.5 million OLED TV units to ship in 2020. Omdia's previous estimate was 4.5 million units, and this too was decreased from its original forecast in late 2019 of 5.5 million.

The OLED TV is still growing (unlike the entire TV market which will shrink in 2020), but due to the CotonaVirus outbreak, LGD's plans to expand production will be delayed.

LG announces pricing and shipping dates for its 2020 OLED TV range

LG Electronics is getting ready to start shipping its 2020 OLED TVs, and the company announced prices and shipping dates for most of the TV models. Amazon.com now lists the TVs which can be pre-ordered.

LG ZX OLED TV photo

Starting at the entry-level, LG's OLEDBX will ship in April 2020, starting at $2,500 for the 55" model. The OLEDCX range, which will probably be LG's most popular series, will also start shipping in early April 2020, with prices starting at $2130 for the 48-inch model.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters