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

LG announces that the upcoming G8 smartphone will adopt the company's Crystal Sound OLED tech

LG Electronics announced that its upcoming LG G8 ThinQ smartphone will feature the company's Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) technology - which turns the OLED display into an audio speaker.

LG crystal sound OLED smartphone scheme

The idea is that a CSO display vibrates and turns into a diaphragm - to produce high quality sound. LG says that such a speaker improves the clarity compared to regular smartphone speakers. The G8 ThinQ will also use other audio technology, including DST-X 3D Surround Sound emulation, Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) and more.

IHS: LG's 65" rollable OLED TV costs over $3,000 to produce

At CES 2019, LG Electronics announced its first rollable TV (and the world's first rollable OLED device), the 65" Signature OLED TV R. Market analysts from IHS estimate that producing each 65" rollable OLED TV will cost over $3,000 - more than three times the cost of production of LG's regular 65" OLED TV panels.

LG's new TV can roll up into its base, and has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. In Line View, there are six different modes, in which the TV can show the weather, the time, a home dashboard and more. Like the rest of LG's 2019 OLED range, the OLED TV R is based on the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

LG launches its 55" transparent touch-enabled OLED signage solutions

Last week the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) event took place, and LG Electronics demonstrated its latest OLED and LED signage solutions. LG also used the event to launch its 55" transparent touch-enabled OLED displays:

LG has been demonstrating 55" transparent OLED displays for many years, and the latest prototype shown at CES 2019 featured a transparency of 40%. We can assume that these new commercial displays feature the same transparency. It is not clear yet when these displays will start shipping - and what will be the price.

LGD to start OLED TV mass production in Guangzhou in Q3 2019, does not commit to pOLED expansion

LG Display reported its financial results for Q4 2018 - it reported an operating profit of ₩279 billion ($250 million USD) due to strong shipments of IT panels and OLED TVs. LGD however gave a weak outlook to 2019 (for its LCD business).

LG 2019 ThinQ AI OLED TV ad

LGD says that it will invest $7.1 billion in 2019 in capacity expansion, and $3.5 billion in 2020. It will divert all of its investments into OLED displays - with 60% going to large area OLED TV production and 40% going to small/medium pOLED production.

Here are the main displays shown at LG Display's CES 2019 booth

LG Display had an impressive booth at CES 2019, show off the company's latest display technologies - and most of these were OLED displays, of course. LGD sent us this nice video that shows the main displays at their booth:

The video shows LG's flower OLED installation made up from four curved 65" OLED TV panels, the 88" Crystal-Sound-OLED (CSO) panel with the built-in speaker, LG's new 65" Crystal-Motion OLED (which features an MPTR of 3.5 ms - the world's fastest according to LGD) and finally LG's latest 55" transparent OLED panels.

LG launches its first rollable TV, the 65" OLED TV R

As was reported last month, LG Electronics announced its first rollable TV (and the world's first rollable OLED device), the 65" Signature OLED TV R. LG's new TV can roll up into its base, and has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. In Line View, there are six different modes, in which the TV can show the weather, the time, a home dashboard and more.

LG's OLED TV R, like the rest of LG's 2019 OLED range, is based on the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant. The TV also features HDMI 2.1, high frame rate (HFR) support, enhanced audio return channel (eARC), variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM). LG's flagship OLED also feature Dolby Atmos for immersive entertainment.

The 2019 OLED Korea ConferenceThe 2019 OLED Korea Conference