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 January 2019, Alienware demonstrated a gaming monitor that uses a 55" 4K 120Hz OLED display. This monitor supports 4K at 120Hz using the new HDMI v2.1 connection (also supported by LG's latest 2019 OLED TVs).
Alienware now updates that it is not ready to launch this monitor yet as it is still a "conceptual product" and that its "potential commercial viability is still in question". The company did say that if the product progresses, it will make an announcement at CES 2020. This will be a premium product with a price tag of over $3,000.
UBI Research estimates that OLED production capacity will increase from 34.9 million sqm to 68.5 million by 2023. LG Display and Samsung Display are expected to increase production of OLED TV and introduce new 10.5-Gen fabs better suited for 65" TV production.
Mobile OLED production capacity will also grow, but at a slower rate - from 13 million sqm in 2019 to 19.3 million sqm in 2023, mainly driven by Chinese OLED producers that produce flexible smartphone OLED displays mainly for the Chinese domestic market. Korean OLED producers (SDC and LGD) will continue to dominate the market and will retain their ~80% market share in 2023.
It is now reported in China that LG Display confirmed it is developing a 48" OLED TV panel and plans to start producing these in 2020 - which could mean that the TV themselves will hit the stores in 2020 - but this could also mean that they will arrive only in 2021.
According to a report from Korea, LG Display has halted production at one of its production lines at its E6 production fab, LG's 6-Gen flexible OLED line that commenced production at the end of 2018.
According to the report, the problem lies with LGD's thin film encapsulation equipment - specifically the equipment that deposited the organic particles - which apparently suffers from sub par performance, not good enough for commercial production. LG is using equipment made by its subsidiary LG PRI in the E6-1 line, which is now halted.
In early 2019 LG announced its first 88" 8K OLED TV panel, the OLED Z9, and the company now finally announced the pricing and availability of its flagship 2019 OLED TV.
LG Electronics will start accepting pre-orders for the OLED88Z9K in Korea in June. The regular price of the TV is around $42,000 (!) in Korea, but pre-orders will enjoy a discount (to $34,000) and a free air purifier to boot. LG did not disclose when the TVs will actually ship, but it did say that they will go on sale in Europe and the US in Q3 2019 (i.e. July to September).
In early 2019 LG Electronics announced the world's first rollable OLED TV, the 65" Signature OLED TV R and the 88" 8K Z9 OLED TV. Today LGE announced that it plans to start shipping both TVs in the second half of 2019, in Korea. LG did not disclose the price of these two high-end TVs.
The rollable and 88" OLED TVs will be highly expensive - these are high-end premium products. LG Electronics did however say that as it shipped over 4 million OLED TVs since the first one shipped in March 2013, OLED TVs are now "crossing the chasm" and are starting to be adopted by the mainstream market and not only early adopters.
Update: LGD confirms it is supplying the 13.3" foldable OLEDs to Lenovo's prototypes.
Lenovo demonstrated a prototype foldable ThinkPad laptop, that features a 13.3" foldable OLED display. Lenovo says that it developed this device for over three years, and hopes to launched a commercial one in 2020.
The reporters at The Verge really liked the device, but noted that the hardware is clearly not finished - the folding mechanism for example did not feel sturdy (and we all know this is critical in a foldable device) and the display itself suffers from "remarkably poor viewing angles".
LG's 2019 OLED W9 Wallpaper TV is now shipping and costs $6,999 for the 65" model and $12,999 for the 77" model. The W9 TVs are based on LG's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor which enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
The OLED W9 also features HDMI 2.1 which enables 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.