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

LGD lowers its OLED TV panel shipment target in 2022, but plans for an increase in demand in 2023

The Elec reports that LG Display lowered its internal OLED TV panel shipment goal in 2022, as it realizes it will not be able to ship the 7.8 million panels it hoped for. The TV market in general is seeing lower demand this year, and in addition LGD's hopes to sell panels to Samsung Electronics did not materialize.

LG 97'' CSO OLED EX panel photo

Looking to 2023, however, LGD plans to produce 9.2 million OLED TV panels (out of which 5.4 million will be produced at the company's Guangzhou fab).

Samsung Display reportedly decided to use 8.7-Gen glass substrates in its upcoming IT OLED fab

OLED makers are gearing up to increase production of IT OLED panels, used in laptops, monitors and tablets. Towards that, analysts expects over 10 8.5-Gen OLED lines under consideration now in the industry. This drive is led by Samsung Display that confirmed is is building a 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) OLED production line, that will begin production in 2024.

Samsung Display 8-Gen IT OLED line slide (2022-08)

A 8-Gen (or actually 8.5-Gen) fab uses 2200x2500mm glass substrates. According to a new report in Korea, Samsung actually decided to adopt a larger glass - a 8.7-Gen 2290x2620 mm. The ~10cm increase will increase production efficiency by around 9%, but this means that current 8.5-Gen LCD equipment that Samsung hoped to use will not be usable any more.

OLED Handbook

LG Display equips a tour bus in Korea with transparent OLEDs to create an augmented reality tour

LG Display has equipped a tour bus in Korea's Suwon town with transparent OLED displays, to enable a sort of augmented-reality tour that overlays historic images that simulate life in Suwon in 1795.

LGD says that "historical figures come to life as animated scenes match up with the fortress walls to show them in their original setting. You get to sense what this city would have looked like centuries ago, and how people in traditional dress would have lived and celebrated major events. There’s even a demonstration of old technologies during the tour, with text in Korean and English to guide you along".

LG Display: OLED will be the main display technology for future AR and VR devices

Yang Joon-Young, a VP at LG Display, says that recent improvement in OLED technologies will cause an industry shift from LCoS devices to OLED microdisplays in AR systems. LCoS will find a market in low-cost AR headsets, but most AR solutions will be based on OLEDs.

Next-generation VR systems, which will require higher pixel densities, will also switch from LCD and mobile AMOLED displays to OLED microdisplays that will offer pixel densities of over 3000 PPI.

LG is developing medium-sized WOLED panels for gaming monitors

Earlier this month we reported that LG Display aims to start making 20-inch OLED panels, but we did not know the technology that LGD will adopt - WOLED (from its 8.5-Gen TV lines) or RGB (from its pOLED 6-Gen lines).

LGD now says that it is indeed developing panels for gaming monitors, with sizes ranging from 20-inch to 30-inch. The company also disclosed that these will be WOLED panels, produced at its 8.5-Gen lines. LGD also confirms that the first panels will be released by the end of 2022.

LG Display and SK Hynix to collaborate on OLED microdisplay production

According to a report from Korea, LG Display and SK Hynix has agreed to collaborate on OLED microdisplay development and production. The two companies are at the final stage of negotiations.

If this goes through, SK Hynix will produce the backplane silicon wafers, while LG Display will handle the OLED frontplane deposition and encapsulation.

DSCC: OLED panels shipments declined 3% in Q2 2022, but revenues increased 12%

DSCC says that in Q2 2022, OLED panel revenues increased 12% compared to Q2 2021, while shipment units declined 3%. Fewer OLEDs were shipped, but revenues increased as we've seen an increased growth in high value panels (gaming, monitors, laptops, automotive, etc) and also an improved form factor adoption in smartphones.

OLED panel revenues and growth (2020Q2-2022Q2, DSCC)

In Q2 2022, smartphones remained the largest OLED application with a 76% unit and revenue share. OLED smartwatches had a 16% unit share (and a 6% revenue share), and OLED TVs had a 11% revenue share (up from 8% in Q1 2022).

Merck - Advancing Display, Advancing LifeMerck - Advancing Display, Advancing Life