Article last updated on: Oct 09, 2018

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 smartphoens, 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

ETNews: LGD and Lenovo are developing a foldable 13" tablet, will ship by the end of 2019

According to a report from ETNews, LG Display is collaborating with Lenovo to develop a foldable tablet. The tablet will use a 13" foldable OLED - which LGD aims to start producing in the second half of 2019.

The 13" display will be around 9" when folded. So this device will stay in the tablet size category when folded, this will not compete in the smartphone market. This is the first time we hear of such a device under development - which could make sense as a tablet is not used as much as a smartphone is - and so the number of supported folding cycles can be lower.

DisplayMate: the Google Pixel 3 AMOLED is made by SDC, is a top-notch smartphone display

Display measurement experts Display Mate posted an in-depth review of the Google Pixel 3 XL 6.3" 1440x2960 AMOLED display. The display wins DisplayMate's highest ever Overall Display Assessment Grade of A+ together with a DisplayMate Best Smartphone Display Award.

Google Pixel 3 photo

DisplayMate says that Google now joins Apple and Samsung as the top tier of smartphone displays. The Google 3 XL display is on par with the AMOLED display used in Samsung's Galaxy S9. Interestingly, it turns out that Samsung Display provides this 6.3" AMOLED display to the Pixel 3 XL, while LG Display is likely to be the supplier for the smaller 5.5" 1080x2160 display used in the Pixel 3.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

Where are the transparent OLEDs?

Transparent displays are of great interest, and many envision a plethora of possible applications that use transparent screens in the retail, commercial and consumer markets. There are many exciting applications - but none with real and immediate demand.

Many OLED makers are developing transparent OLEDs, and in the past we've seen several producers that introduced such displays to the market - only to halt production a few months later. Device makers are on the lookout for such displays, and are still disappointed even though the technology is ready.

Cynora extends its cooperation with LGD for deep-blue TADF emitters, samples green TADF emitters

TADF developer CYNORA has announced that it has extended its joint-development agreement with LG Display. The two companies have been co-developing deep-blue TADF OLED emitters for two years, and have now decided to continue the cooperation towards the commercialization of TADF emitters in OLED displays.

Cynora TADF OLED blue emitter in the lab (photo)

CYNORA's latest deep-blue material specification was presented in May 2018 - with a CIEy of 0.14, EQE of 20% and a lifetime of 20 hours LT97 at 700 nits. Cynora expects to have blue material in mass production by 2020. Cynora says that its TADF materials are suitable for both self-emitting or co-emitting approaches (which includes hyper-fluorescence).

Yonsei University deploys OLED lighting installations

Korea's Yonsei University deployed OLED lighting installations, one in its 24-hour study room (Laptop area) and the other in its Hall of Fame. The University says that the new OLED lighting systems provide better eye-comfort and upgrade the study atmosphere.

The Laptop Area uses rectangular OLED panels, both in the ceiling chandeliers and on the desks themselves. The Hall of Fame uses LGD's 300x300 mm flexible OLED panels.

Critical OLED information leaked from LGD, company suspects espionage

The Korea Herald reports that during the last few weeks, critical information regarding OLED technologies and plans has been leaked from LG Display's headquarters. The company suspects espionage from Chinese-based companies.

LGD 5-Gen OLED lighting fab in Gumi, Korea

LGD carried out a search for eavesdropping devices in meeting rooms - but they found no evidence. LGD is truly concerned, though, as information discussed at C-level meetings was leaked several times recently.

LG Display: sales of OLED TV panels in China is lower than expected

LG Display is seeing high demand for its OLED TV panels, and the company is actually increasing the price of its panels. During LG Display's 2018 China's Partner Day, LGD's CMO says that while sales in Europe, the US and especially Japan are going very well - the sales in China are weaker than expected.

LG Display China Partner day 2018 photo

LG Display planned to sell 250,000 OLED TV panels in 2018 in China, but the company has now lowered its forecast to 210,000 units. The Chinese market grew from 60,000 units in 2016 to 120,000 units in 2017. The growth to 210,000 units still matches LG's global growth rate, but the company expected the Chinese market to grow even faster. LG Display does say that sales of some of its partners (mainly Skyworth, who is reportedly getting ready for much larger OLED volumes) in August went up, but still the company decided to shift some of its panels that were destined to China to other markets.

DisplayMate: The iPhone XS Max has the world's best mobile display, and it is produced by SDC

DisplayMate has posted a comprehensive review of the Apple iPhone XS Max display - a 6.5" 1242x2688 AMOLED display. DisplayMate has found that this display is highly impressive - with a close to text-book perfect calibration and performance. The display has been found to be on par with the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 display.

Apple iPhone XS Max photo

The high performance display led us to ask DisplayMate's Raymond Soneira about the producer of this display - and he confirms our estimation - the iPhone XS Max's display was produced by Samsung Display. In the past months we have heard many reports claiming that Apple contracted LG Display to produce this 6.5" AMOLED, and now we have proof that eventually Apple chose to keep Samsung as its exclusive supplier for Smartphone AMOLEDs, at least for now.

IHS: LG Display is increasing its OLED TV panel price as demand increases

IHS Markit says that high demand for OLED TV panels has enabled LG Display to increase its asking price, and the average selling price (ASP) of OLED TVs have risen from $695.47 in Q1 2018 to $712.48 in the second quarter. IHS expects LGD to increase the price to $731.9 in Q3 and $729.96 in the Q4 2018.

Philips OLED 973 photo

IHS estimates that LG Display will ship a total of 2.54 million OLED TV panels in 2018 - much less than what was claimed in a surprising post in Korea last week (3.7 - 3.8 million). IHS sees the market growing to 3.6 million units in 2019, 6 million units in 2020 and 9.35 million units in 2022.

Reports from Korea say that LGD increased its 2018 OLED TV production forecast by 25%

In August 2018, LG Display announced that it sold over 1.3 million OLED TV panels in the first half of 2018 - and it plans to produce over 1.6 million panels in the second half of the year, to reach a total of 2.9 million panels in 2018 (up from 1.7 million in 2017).

LG 65OLEDC8 photo

According to a new report from Korea's Kore1-News, LG Display is now aiming to produce around 2.4-2.5 million OLED TV panels in the second half of 2018, to a total of 3.7-3.8 million in 2018. The new report does not mention how LGD aims to increase its capacity so much as no new capacity is expected to come online in the second of the year.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters