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.
In a very interesting post, The Elec states that Apple has reached out to both Samsung Display and LG Display, requesting that the display suppliers develop a longer-lifetime OLED display for Apple's next iPad Pro devices.
LG 12.8-inch P-OLED in Mercedes Benz 2021 S-Class
The lifetime of the current crop of mobile OLED devices is not enough for Apple's iPad - which is designed to be used for a longer period of time compared to a smartphone. An increased lifetime will also result in lower burn-in problems which seem to trouble Apple.
LG Electronics signed an exclusive marketing partnership with Microsoft, and LG's OLED TV technology is now the official TV partner of Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X gaming console.
LG says that its latest OLED TVs are the best way to enjoy gaming on the Xbox Series X, with features such as 4K resolution, 120 fps, an ultra-fast 1ms response time, low input lag and support for the latest HDMI specifications including Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and enhanced return audio channel (eARC). LG's latest TVs also feature the HGiG HRD profile.
According to a new report from Korea, Apple has tested BOE's AMOLEDs for next year's iPhones, but again BOE's OLED production quality is not good enough for Apple, which means that in 2021 Samsung Display and LG Display will remain the exclusive OLED suppliers to Apple's phones. In 2021 it is likely that Apple will introduce LTPO displays in addition to screens with a 120Hz refresh rates and on-cell touch.
The new transparent display is 55-inch in size, and offers a resolution of 1920x1080 (not a surprise as this is the spec of LG's and the world's only transparent 55" OLED panel in production). The whole display weighs just 1.75 Kg. Interestingly the operation temperature range is quite limited at 0-40 degrees Celsius.
Business Korea reports that Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED recently dropped two lawsuits it filed in the US against Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. According to Solas Samsung Electronics infringed on its patent on OLED panels in its latest smartphone products including the Galaxy Z-Fold 2, and LG Electronics infringed on an OLED TV patent.
Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED announced that it has prevailed in its patent infringement action in Germany against LG Display, LG Electronics and Sony. The Mannheim District Court in Germany held that the defendants had infringed Solas’ German patent DE 102 54 511 B4 concerning a control circuit for light emitting diodes.
This technology, owned by Solas, is used in OLED panels used in LG ans Sony's TVs. According to the court's decision, LG and Sony will have to stop marketing products in Germany that infringe upon Solas' patents and they will have to recall from commercial customers all infringing products. LG and Sony must also must render to Solas a detailed accounting necessary to establish damages owed by the defendants for sales of infringing products in Germany dating back to April, 2009.
LG Display announced that its OLED TV panels have received Eco-Product certification from Swiss-based SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance). LG's OLED TV panels have been recognized as eco-friendly products with low emissions of hazardous substances.
SGS evaluated the overall environmental aspects of OLED TV panels and found their environmental friendliness to be especially notable in three categories covering the lowering of indoor air pollutants, the reduction of hazardous substances, and high recyclability.
LG Display reported its financial results for Q3 2020, with a net profit (of $9.8 million) - which was the company's first profitable quarter since 2018. Revenues in the quarter were $5.9 billion, up 27% from the previous quarter and up 16% from Q3 2019.
LG Display says that its turnaround was due to increased demand for IT displays and OLED displays - both OLED TV panels and flexible OLEDs for smartphones. Profitability was also assisted by the mass production that finally began at LGD's new OLED TV fab in Guangzhou. Next year LGD says it aims to ship over 7 million OLED TV panels.
LG Display announced a 3-year OLED technology partnership with The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB, to "create exceptional viewing experiences".
LG Display will provide StudioLAB with access to its latest OLED technology advancements, and together the two companies will work on a variety of projects to equip Walt Disney Studios filmmakers with new production tools and provide consumers with fun, interactive and immersive experiences tied to the Studios’ film releases.