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 is the world's clear leader in OLED TV technologies. LG Display is the only company that produces commercial panels (although China's BOE is also entering production), and LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". Some of these are flat, and some are curved, and all the latest models support 4K (UHD) resolution and HDR. Reviews of LG's OLED TVs are great, and most experts say that these are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality. Following is a table of LG's 2016 models (LG's 2017 OLEDTV models are just entering the market now as well)

LG OLED65C6P photo
Curved 55"/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65E6P photo
Flat high-end 55"/65" ($3,499 / $4,999)

In early 2017 LG launched updated 2017 models, and the company's new flag ship TV is the Wallpaper Signature OLEDW7. These extremely thin TVs (2.57 mm all the way) attach to the wall using magnets. LG Display also supplies panels to other companies - including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and KTC.

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 such as those in Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple's Watch), 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 plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, with a monthly capacity of 14,000 substrates (more than double its capacity in the beginning of 2014). LG Display's flexible AMOLEDs were used in LG's mobile phones (the G Flex 2) and are currently used in wearable devices (such as the Wear 2.0 Watch Sport) and in Apple's Watch and Watch Series 2.



LG's flexible OLED capacity is quite limited at this stage, but the company is set to dramatically increase its production capacity. With 3 flexible OLED fabs already underway. The first one will be the the E5 6-Gen (1500x1850 mm) $900 million line that is scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2017.

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 the world's largest OLEDs (at 300x300 mm) and the world's first flexible OLEDs (on a glass substrate).

LG Chem truly flexible OLED lighting panel photo

LG's current OLED lighting production capacity is limited, but the company is constructing a Gen-5 OLED lighting fab that will enter production in late 2017. The new fab will enable LG to increase production volume and cut prices dramatically.

Further reading

Latest LG OLED news

Korea Time: China is expected to approve LG's Guangzhou OLED TV fab plans

In July 2017 LG Display announced that it has decided to build a 8.5-Gen (2200x2500) OLED TV production line in Guangzhou. The Korean government hesitated whether to approve this plan, as it sees OLED as a strategic technology Korea' economy, but by the end of 2017 LGD got the approval for its new OLED TV fab.

LG Display's LCD fab in Guangzhou, China

LGD is still waiting for an approval from the Chinese authorities, and according to today's Korea Times report, the Chinese government is expected to approve LG's plans. Apparently China hesitated as it aims to help the country's own OLED industry, but it hopes that local companies will benefit with a close partnership with LGD.

DSCC: 100 million OLED panels were shipped in Q1 2018, generating $5.8 billion in revenues

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says that in Q1 2018 OLED revenues dropped 33% compared to Q4 2017 (but grew 39% compared to Q1 2017) and amounted to $5.9 billion. DSCC says that OLED revenues will decline further in Q2 2018 but will recover in the second half of 2018. Full-year revenues are expected to reach $26.95 billion, while the market will reach $57.2 billion by 2022.

AMOLED revenue and growth (2016-2018, DSCC)

Samsung Electronics was the top OLED customer in the first quarter, and together with Apple (#2) the two companies consumer 79% of all OLED panels by revenue.

The OLED Marketplace, find your OLED here

LGD starts to supply OLED TV panels to China's HiSense

In early 2018 HiSense said that it plans to introduce its first OLED TV in the first half of 2018, and according to Digitimes LG Display started shipping OLED TV panels to Hisense, which aims to actually ship its TV in Q3 2018.

HiSense 2014 OLED TV prototype

HiSense is China's largest TV producer with a market share of around 15% in the over-$2,000 segment. Hisense has been demonstrating and promising OLED TVs for a long time (in 2014 the company demonstrated its first 55" OLED TV prototype, and in 2011 the company aimed to release a 15-inch OLED "TV"). This time however, it seems that the company will follow through.

ETNews: BOE to supply Huawei with foldable OLEDs, is working with three phone makers to develop foldable devices

Samsung is aiming to launch its first foldable OLED phone by the end of 2018 or early 2019, but two months ago it was reported in Korea that Huawei aims to beat Samsung and announce its first foldable phone in November 2018, using LGD's OLEDs.

A new report from ETNews now says that Huawei is actually working with China-based BOE Display, and not LGD. The first Huawei phone will have a 8" display and it will fold into a smartphone-sized device. This report makes more sense than the LGD report, as it seems that BOE's foldable OLED technology is more advanced than LGD's - and in fact last week the company unveiled a 7.56" 2048x1535 foldable OLED.

LG is now shipping its flagship OLEDW8 wallpaper OLED TV in the UK

LG OLEDW8 wallpaper TV is the company's flagship TV for 2018, and LG today started shipping the new TVs in the UK. The 65" model costs £7,999 (note: affiliate link to Amazon) - or just over $10,000 USD. The 77-inch model (OLED77W8) is not yet shipping, but we know the price in the US will be $14,999. We do not know when the TVs will arrive in the US yet.

LG OLEDW8 photo

The 4K OLEDW8 TV is extremely thin (2.57 mm all the way) and attaches to the wall using magnets - with a thin cable that connects to the sound bar and interface box. The OLEDW8 is powered by LG's new a9 "intelligent processor" that promises better color and fast smart TV (webOS) operations. The TV supports Google's Assistant for natural language control, Dolby Atmos, HDR and 4K HFR.

LG replaces the OLED TV at Incheon airport to an LCD due to burn-in issues

Only four months after LG installed 69 OLED TVs at Seoul's Incheon Airport it was reported that the TVs suffer serious permanent image-retention, or burn-in. ZDNet now reports that LG replaced the problematic OLED TVs at the airport's Korean Air Miler Club Lounge with LCDs.

LG OLED TV at Incheon airport - burn-in photo

The report suggests that LG was not sure it could solve the burn-in issues with this particular display, and so opted for an LCD. LG denies that burn-in is a serious issues and says the TVs's lifetime are over 30,000 hours.

LG Display demonstrated its latest OLEDs at SID DisplayWeek 2018

LG Display showcased several of its OLED technologies at SID DisplayWeek. The most impressive display was a 77" panel that is both flexible and transparent. The large panel features a 4K (3840x2160) resolution and 40% transmittance. The bending radius of the display is 80 mm. This seems to be the same display announced in June 2017.

LGD also demonstrated, for the first time, its VR OLED display, developed in collaboration with Google. This is a 4.3" 3840x4800 (1443 PPI) glass-based display on an LTPS backplane, that supports a refresh rate of 120Hz.

LG: we'll only use OLEDs in our V-series smartphones, the rest of our smartphones will use LCDs

LG Electronics introduced its V30 smartphone in August 2017, the first LG phone in a long time that uses an OLED display (a 6-inch curved flexible 1440x2280 LGD P-OLED). It was assumed that LG will start adopting OLEDs in more of its smartphones going forward, but LG's latest G7 ThinQ uses an LCD and not an OLED.

LG V30 photo

LG says that it will only use OLED displays in its V series of "innovative" smartphones - the rest of LG's smartphone will continue to use LCDs. It may be that LGD does not simply have the capacity for more OLED smartphone displays - especially if it aims to supply Apple in 2018.

ZDNet: LG's OLED TVs at Incheon airport suffer from serious burn-in

According to a ZDNet report, the LG OLED TVs at Incheon Airport, installed only a few months ago, suffer from serious permanent image-retention, or burn-in. You can see the artifact at the top part of the TV in the photo below:

LG OLED TV at Incheon airport - burn-in photo

According to ZDNet, LG installed 29 such OLED TVs at the airport lobby in addition to 40 more units at four of the airport's lounges. These were installed in January 2018, only four months ago. LG Electronics did not comment on this story.

LGD to start ordering equipment for its Guangzhou OLED TV fab next month

In July 2017 LG Display announced that it has decided to build a 8.5-Gen (2200x2500) OLED line in Guangzhou, China, to make OLED TV panels. The Korean government hesitated whether to approve this plan, as it sees OLED as a strategic technology Korea' economy, but by the end of 2017 LGD got the approval for its new OLED TV fab.

LG Display's LCD fab in Guangzhou, China

LGD is apparently still waiting for an approval from the Chinese authorities, but according to a new report from Korea, LG Display is expected to place the orders for the new fab equipment next month. This report says that total investment in this new fab is estimated at $3.17 billion - although LGD itself estimated the whole fab at $2.3 billion USD. Perhaps LGD only counted its own stake, as the local government in Guangzhou will award LGD with 30% the funds.