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

Bloomberg: Apple's future iPhones may use a curved OLED display

While it's still not clear whether Apple plans to release two new OLED iPhone models in 2018 or just a single one, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is working on a new design that will use a curved OLED display in its future phones.

According to the report, the display will "curve inward gradually from top to bottom" - so this design will be different then Samsung's popular edge-type phones, maybe something similar to LG's old Flex phones. Bloomberg also says that this technology is "2-3 years away" which is a bit surprising - by then Apple is expected to adopt foldable displays.

LG halts OLED production in Paju for 14 hours following a fire

LG Display halted production in some of its OLED and LCD lines in its Paju production base, following a fire that outside the construction site. No one was injured seriously, but nine workers were sent to the hospital.

LG Display Paju April 2018 fire photo

The production lines were halted for 14 hours, but are no operation normally. LGD said it cannot estimate exact losses from the shutdown.

OLED Handbook

LGD aims to produce 10 million OLED TV panels in 2021

The Nikkei Asian Review reports that LG Display aims to increase its OLED TV production capacity to 10 million units by 2021 - which is six times its capacity in 2017 (1.7 million). Next year LGD aims to produce around 2.8 million OLED TVs. LGD's investment in new OLED TV capacity will reach $18 billion by 2020.

LGD 88'' 8K OLED prototype photo

LG Display is enjoying a surge in demand for OLED TVs, and OLED TVs sales account for around half of its high-end TV sales (TVs with a price tag of over $2,000). In 2018 OLED's share in LGD's premium TV panes will grow to 70%. LG Display is confident it could even sell 20 million OLED TV panels each year, if it could make them. LG is "betting all on OLED" and minimizes its LCD investments as much as possible.

LG starts shipping its 2018 OLEDE8 OLED TVs

LG continues to roll out its new 2018 OLED TVs, and today Amazon.com started to ship the 55" OLEDE8 - for $3,300 ($200 lower than LG's official $3,499).

LG OLED65E8 photo

The OLEDE8 is a series (55" / 65") of high-end picture-on-glass 4K OLED TVs. The TVs are powered by LG's new a9 "intelligent processor" that promises better color and fast smart TV (webOS) operations. The TV will support Google's Assistant for natural language control, Dolby Atmos, HDR and 4K HFR.

LG starts to ship its 2018 OLED TVs in the US

LG introduced its 2018 OLED TV lineup in January 2018, and later announced the pricing of most of these TVs, saying these will ship in April 2018. LG did not yet announce formally it started shipping its new TVs, but its first one arrived in Amazon today - the 55" OLEDC8 priced at $2,500 - lower than LG's official price of $2,999.

LG 65OLEDC8 photo

The OLEDC8 is one of LG's basic models in its 2018 4K OLED TV lineup. The C8 series (available in 55", 65" and 77") will support 4K HDR, HFR, Dolby Atmos, webOS with Google assistant and will run on LG's latest a9 "intelligent processor" that promises better color and fast smart TV (webOS) operations.

Reports from Korea suggest that LGD signed OLED supply deals with Mercedes, Volkswagen, Toyota and GM

In 2016 it was reported that Mercedes signed an agreement with LG Display to supply its 12.3" FHD flexible P-OLED displays for a future E-Class automobile. A couple of months ago this was confirmed in a new report from Korea, that also said that Mercedes plans to launch cars with LGD's OLEDs in 2022.

LGD 12.3'' P-OLED automotive concept

A new report from Korea, now says that Mercedes-Benz is planning to adopt LGD's flexible OLED displays starting with some of the Mercedes E Class models it will release in H1 2020. Following that, Mercedes plans to use LGD's P-OLEDs in several cars - both in dashboards and in rear-seat monitors. The Mercedes will use LGD's OLEDs in the form of a wide screen, combining the dashboard and the central infotainment display.

Digitimes - Apple will introduce two new OLED iPhones in 2018

Apple's iPhone X sales were lower than expected, which resulted in a reduction of OLED display orders from SDC (from an estimated 40 million in Q1 2018 to 20 million). Several reports also suggested that Apple may decide to only introduce one new OLED iPhone model in 2018 (the larger 6.5" one, with panels made by LGD).

Apple iPhone X photo

One of these reports came from Taiwan's Digitimes, but a new report from Digitimes suggests that Apple does plan to upgrade its OLED iPhone X in 2018. According to Digitimes, Apple will introduce a slightly larger 5.9" OLED model. In total Apple will buy 110-130 OLED panels in 2018, for all three OLED models (the 2017 iPhone X, the 2018 5.9" iPhone XI and the larger 6.5" OLED iPhone XI plus).

LG's Crystal Sound turns flexible OLED lighting panels to speakers

In early 2017 LG introduced its Crystal Sound OLED technology, which vibrates a flexible OLED display panel and turns it into a speaker. This technology can create seamless OLED TV designs that do not require speakers.

LGD Crystal Sound OLED lighting speakers (L+B 2018)

In a very natural move, LGD announced today that it will bring the Crystal Sound technology to its OLED lighting panels as well. LGD will unveil the first OLED lighting speakers at the Light and Building tradeshow next week in Germany. You can see a couple of such lighting speaker designs above.

Google and LGD developed a 1443 PPI 4.3" 120Hz VR AMOLED display

In May 2017, Google announced that it has partnered with "one of the leading OLED makers" to develop a high-end VR display. Google is now set to demonstrate this display at SID 2018 in May.

Google Day Dream VR photo

The new Google-designed display is a 4.3" 18Mp (1443 PPI, probably around 5500x3000 resolution) VR display featuring a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This will be the highest-density OLED display ever (not counting OLED-on-silicon microdisplays). Current VR AMOLEDs in production reach only about 600 PPI.

DSCC sees OLED fab delays and line cancellations ahead

Market analysts from DSCC say that the low utilization rates at Samsung Display has caused the company to delay its capacity expansion plans. SDC's decision to delay its A5 fab has already been discussed, but DSCC now says that Samsung is also significantly delaying the ramp-up at its new A4 line. DSCC estimates that SDC will delay this new line by at least a year.

LG Display has also reportedly cancelled the first phase of their next flexible OLED line, the P7 (which can be a conversion of LGD's old P7 LCD line). DSCC sees LGD ordering equipment for a new flexible OLED line only at the beginning of 2019.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters