OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a new display technology that is brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than an LCD display. OLEDs deliver the best picture quality ever and are used in high-end smartphones and tablets.
The idea of an OLED monitor is exciting consumers as such a device will offer an unparalleled viewing experience and a thin form factor. But OLED monitors are not on the market yet. This article will explain the benefits, the current status and the future of OLED monitors.
Why is an OLED monitor better than an LCD one?
- OLED provide a better image quality with a much higher contrast (true blacks), wide color gamut, better viewing angles and a much faster refresh rate
- OLED panels are much thinner and lighter compared to LCD panels
- An OLED monitor would consume less power - as only lit pixels draw energy on OLED displays. An almost black screen will require very little power
- An OLED monitor could be flexible or even transparent
OLED monitors and the burn-in challenge?
Of course OLED technology is not perfect. One of the major drawbacks of an OLED display is image retention / burn-in. In an OLED display each pixel is driven independently and each pixel ages differently - the brightness is reduced with use. To put it simply - a pixel that was used a lot will be less bright than a pixel that hasn't been driven as much.
For mobile phones and TVs this is less of a problem - but in a computer user interface many UI elements are quite fixed (toolbars, icons, etc) which means that burn-in is a real problem. There are some technologies to handle this problem - for example by measurement and compensation, and the lifetime of OLED displays is improving all the time. In addition user-interface designers can design a user interface that will be more suited for OLED displays.
OLED monitors on the market
After years of waiting and seeing OLEDs adopted in a wide range of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, TVs and wearables, in early 2016 Dell announced the world's first OLED monitor, the Ultrasharp UP3017Q. This a 30" was supposed to launch in March 2016 for $4,999 - but Dell reportedly scrapped plans for this product. In April 2017, though, Dell brought the UP3017Q back and started shipping it for $3,499.
In early 2018 Asus announced its OLED monitor, the ProArt PQ22UC which features a 21.6" 3840x2160 (204 PPI) OLED display. The display is provided by JOLED using its ink-jet printing process. In March 2019 Asus started to ship the PQ22UC, starting in the UK where the price is set at for £4,529 (!) which would make the US price at around $5,000.
For the professional market, Sony is offering several monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 30") and in several series. Sony already sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and their latest monitor is the 30" 4K BVM-X300. These are professional monitors, though, aimed for broadcasting and post production applications.
The latest OLED Monitor news:
Samsung Display filed a complaint in the US that JOLED and Asustek infringe upon one of the company's patents, filed in 2017. The patent (USPTO # 9,768,240) details a TFT transistor array, and SDC says that both companies make use of the patent in the ProArt PQ22UC monitor.
In June 2020 JOLED announced that it has filed lawsuits in the US and Germany against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display. JOLED says that Samsung infringed on its OLED patents without a license.
A couple of days ago, LG Electronics announced its first OLED monitor, the 31.5-inch 4K UltraFine OLED Pro, model 32EP950. Today JOLED announced that LG's monitor uses the company's printed OLED panels.
JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic to produce OLED displays using inkjet printing technology. In December 2017 JOLED started commercial low-volume production of its 21.6" 4K OLED panels, at the company's pilot 4.5-Gen line.
LG Display announced that it has developed and employed new OLED technologies, including new OLED materials and a new OLED device structure (with a new added layer) that enabled it to improve the efficiency of its large-area WOLED panels by around 20%. This enabled LGD to increase the brightness of its OLEDs.
The first display to adopt this new structure and materials is the company's 77-inch OLED panel, but LGD will also apply it to its other panels over 2021. LGD also announced that it will start producing 83-inch and 42-inch OLED TV panels, that will join its existing 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 88-inch models.
LG Display will demonstrate a 48-inch bendable gaming monitor, at CES 2021 (January 11). The whole panel is just 0.6 mm thick, which enabled LG to embed its Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO) technology in the monitor, which turns it into a large speaker. The monitor offers a response time of 0.1 ms and a refresh rate of 40Hz to 120Hz.
The display can bend up to radius of 1,000 mm so it can be used both as a flat TV and a curved screen for immersive gaming. This seems to be a prototype display, it's not clear when we'll see a monitor producer adopting it and bringing it to market.
Korea's The Elec says that Samsung Display aims to start trial runs at its QD-OLED 8.5-Gen production line next month (December 2020).
SDC will brand these displays as QD Displays. The first generation ones will adopt SDC's current hybrid QD-OLED architecture, but later ones may adopt QNED (quantum-rods) emitters. In any case, SDC's plan is to start mass production by the end of 2021, in the first line (15,000 monthly substrates). SDC is also planning a second line to follow the first, to arrive at a total of 30,000 monthly 8.5-Gen substrates.
In an interesting report from China, it is claimed that Xiaomi is developing a 27-inch transparent OLED monitor, based on panels supplied by Samsung Display. According to the rpeort Xiaomi plans to release this display by 2021.
Last month Xiaomi announced the world's first "consumer" transparent OLED TV, the Xiaomi Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition that features a 55" 120Hz 120Hz WOLED TV panel. The Mi TV Lux is now shipping in China for 49,999 yuan (around $7,200).
Samsung starts to ship QD-OLED TV prototypes to potential customers, may produce QD-OLED gaming monitors
According to Omdia, Samsung Display has started to provide QD-OLED TV prototypes to potential customers - including Samsung Electronics, Sony and Panasonic. Samsung Display is on track to start mass production in Q3 2021.
Interestingly, Samsung Electronics is still not sure whether it will adopt QD-OLED TVs in 2021, as the company aims to focus on mini-LED panels in 2021, and may only release QD-OLED TVs in 2022.
The first display you can see in the video is a 49-inch wide (32:9) 3840x1080 240Hz AMOLED gaming monitor display, that features a brightness of 150 nits (500 nits peak) and a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut.
UBI Research lowered its forecast for the OLED industry in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. UBI decreased its total market revenue forecast by 4.8% to $36.7 billion.
UBI now estimates that 612 million OLED panels will ship in 2020, down from its previous estimate of 660 million. The OLED TV market forecast was reduced dramatically from 4.9 million panels to 3.6 million.
In October 2019 EIZO announced the FORIS NOVA high-end monitor that features a 21.6" 4K AMOLED display (produced by JOLED in an inkjet printing process). The monitor is shipping in Japan, and now EIZO officially launched it in China as well. The price in Japan is 350,000 Yen (around $3,150 USD) and we do not know the price in China yet.
The display offers HDR support. EIZO calls this OLED monitor an entertainment monitor saying it is especially suitable for gaming and video watching. EIZO will only produce 500 units of this limited-edition monitor.