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.
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 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.
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.
Mercedes Benz announced that its upcoming 2021 S-Class cars will include up to five touch displays, and one of these will be a 12.8" OLED display with haptic feedback. The OLED display will come standard in all the cars in the series.
It is now reported that LG Display has decided to delay the mass production at the P10 fab to 2025 or 2026 - this pretty much means the project is now on hold. LG Display is currently seeing lower demand for OLED TV panels, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
LG Display announced that its OLED TV displays have been recognized for maximum eye comfort by leading global independent inspection service TÜV Rheinland of Germany and UL, a leading global safety science company.
LG Display's OLEDs were recognized as "Eye Comfort Displays" - with a low blue light emission and a flicker-free operation. This is the first time in the industry that TV displays have received such certifications.
LG Electronics finally started shipping the world's first 48-inch OLED TV. The OLED48CX is now shipping in Europe. The price is relatively high (1,999 GBP in the UK) but hopefully this will come down in price soon.
LG's CX OLED TVs, LG's entry-level OLEDs for 2020, feature LG's latest 3rd-Gen Alpha 9 processor, which offers better HDR tone mapping and deep learning algorithms to improve picture quality. The TVs also offer NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility for gamers. The TVs are available in 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch.
LG Display announced that it has been selected by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to lead a national large-scale project to develop stretchable displays. LGD says that this project is a major part of the MOTIE's drive to help Korea's next-generation display industry.
A 9.1" stretchable OLED (Samsung Display)
LGD says that the goal of this project is to develop stretchable display products with a 20% elongation rate by 2024. The company believes such displays can vastly widen the scope of applications that displays can be applied to. 21 companies, universities and research institutes will take part in this government-supported project.
DSCC says that OLED revenues in Q1 2020 were $6.7 billion (up 24% from Q1 2019, but down 18% from Q4 2019). Both Samsung and BOE gained market share in the quarter, as LGD had a weak quarter.
DSCC sees the entire OLED market reaching $33 billion in 2020 (up 18% from 2019). Smartphone OLED sales will reach $26.6 billion, mostly led by a growth in flexible OLED sales. The OLED TV market will grow 19% to 4 million units in 2020. DSCC sees the laptop OLED market increasing significantly in 2020.
Business Korea reports today that LGD finally started to produce panels in the Guangzhou fab - 48" OLED TV panels. It seems as if LGD has not achieved mass production yet, but some panels are already being produced. Mass production will begin, according to BK, later this month.
Bang and Olufsen announced a new flagship TV, at the top of its Beovision Harmony OLED TV range - a 88" 8K model, based on LGD's WOLED panels. The TV features a frame that includes a pop-up dual wood speaker mechanism that opens up when the TV is in use.
The 88" BeoVision Harmony costs $49,000. It joins the 2019 65" 4K model ($15,700) and 77" 4K model ($19,800).
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.
According to The Elec, LG will supply the panels for Apple's iPhone 12 Max (6.1"), while Samsung will supply all the panels for the iPhone 12 (5.4"), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1") and iPhone 12 Pro max (6.7").