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
OLED displays haven't been widely used in monitors yet, only in very high-end professional monitors, such as LG's UltraFine OLED Pro 32EP950, that features a 4K 31.5-inch OLED (produced by JOLED). The 32EP950 costs $3,999.
Sony is offering several monitors for the professional market 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:
DSCC estimates that OLED revenues in 2023 will be $36.1 billion - down 13% from last year. Just a few months ago DSCC's forecast for 2023 was $38.9 billion. This is the second year that the OLED market is contracting. In terms of shipments, there will be a 5% decrease in 2023. Looking forward to 2024, DSCC sees the market starting to recover, as demand for IT displays, TVs and smartphones will increase.
Looking at specific markets in 2023, DSCC says that OLED smartphone shipments will remain flat, but will drop 11% in revenues - as the demand for higher-end flexible displays is lower than in 2022. The only positive is the foldable display market, where shipments will increase 33% in 2023 compared to last year. 2023 also experiences a big drop in demand for OLED TVs - DSCC sees shipments declining 31% in 2023. The same goes for laptop OLEDs - a 32% decrease in sales in 2023.
LG Display showed its WOLED roadmap during the K-Display conference in Seoul, saying that it will soon start producing 32-inch (16:9), 34-inch (21:9) and 39-inch (21:9) models. These panels are aimed for computer monitor applications, rather than TVs, although the 32-inch could also be used as a TV panel.
LGD did not detail when it expects to start producing these panels. Dough already unveiled a few weeks ago that it is working on a 32" monitor, and this will be base on an LGD WOLED panel
LG Display is demonstrating its new 30" and 77" transparent OLED displays for the first time, at the company's booth at K-Display 2023, in Seoul, Korea.
Credit: LG Display
The new 30" transparent OLED offers HD resolution, while the 77" panel offers 4K resolution. All of LG's latest transparent OLED displays offer 45% transparency. LG showed its entire range of T-OLED displays in a coffee shop setting, in partnership with Starbucks.
US-based Veeo announce a new display called the T30, that is based on a transparent OLED panel with a behind-the-display camera. The T30 is a monitor that enables video communication with an aligned user line of sight.
The T30 is offered in two models, 30" and 50", both based on LG's transparent WOLED panels. Veeo will announce the price of its transparent OLED monitor towards the end of 2023.
Independent testing and certification leader TÜV Rheinland has awarded LG's OLED TV and monitor panels with its 'Circadian Friendly' certification. LG's OLEDs are the first displays to ever receive this award.
TÜV Rheinland new 'Circadian Friendly' certification is given to products that meet the standards of minimizing their impact on people's quality of life during the day and promote better sleep at night. These products undergo rigorous testing based on the 'Circadian Stimulus' metric, designed by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center.
DSCC says that OLED panel revenues will decline 7% in 2023 (to $38.9 billion), the second consecutive year that the OLED market is seeing a decline in sales. The largest declines will be in the OLED TVs and laptops segments.
The OLED smartphone market will actually grow 4% in unit sales, but revenues will decline 5%. The OLED TV market will decline 29% in 2023 in both revenues and units. OLED laptop unit sales will decline by 15%. All other segments, including AR/VR, automotive and tablets, will grow in sales and revenues in 2023.
Merck introduces new OLED encapsulation materials that the company says offer superior flexibility, higher reliability, and longer lifetime for flexible devices compared to existing solutions.
Merck says that its new low-temperature ALD silicon materials offer highly improved barrier characteristics - 100 times more effective than current solutions. And they can be deposited in thin layers - 20 times thinner than existing solutions. Merck introduced low-temperature ALD silicon materials in 2022 for automotive OLED, and the company expects that the new materials will be used for the encapsulation of flexible IT OLED displays (laptops, tablets and monitors).
BOE has plans to construct an 8.5-Gen AMOLED production line with a capacity of 30,000 monthly substrates to produce IT displays for laptops, tablets and monitors. The company aims to build the B16 factory in Chengdu, Sichuan.
Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED (BOE panel)
According to Korea's ETNews, BOE is facing delays with its B16 plans. The company is seeking support from the local government, but it has yet to gain support.
LG Display reported its financial results for Q1 2023, with revenues of 4,411 billion Won ($3.3 billion USD), down 40% from the previous quarter and 32% from 2022.
The company says there is 'sluggish demand' for TV and IT products. The company plans to focus on automotive displays, smartphone OLEDs and IT OLEDs (mid-sized panels). LG also aims to increase its sales of OLED gaming monitor panels and transparent OLED displays.
Omdia released its latest IT OLED display forecasts, with some interesting projections.
The company sees very nice growth ahead for OLED displays in the IT market, with shipments rising from around 9.7 million units in 2022 to over 70 million units in 2028. Most of the growth will come from adoption in laptops, but tablet adoption will also increase sharply.