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

Why aren't there any OLED monitors on the market?

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.Dell UltraSharp 30 OLED photo

Currently there are no consumer OLED monitors available on the market besides Dell's monitor. 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.

Further reading

Latest OLED Monitor news

JOLED seeks $900 million in funding to start mass printing OLED displays

Oct 04, 2017

As we just posted, Japan Display has decided to halt its plans to turn its minority stake at JOLED into a majority one, and so JOLED is now seeking external financing to support its plan to start mass producing OLEDs in 2019 at the JDI plant in Nomi, Ishikawa (which currently makes LCDs, but will be shut down towards the end of 2017).

JOLED 4K prototype OLED Monitor (July 2017, Japan)

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, JOLED aims to raise 100 billion Yen (almost $900 million) from Japanese companies, and it has already approached Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon and Sumitomo. If this plans fails JOLED may turn to foreign companies, including Chinese ones.

Sony may be JOLED's first customer for its 21.6" 4K medical OLED monitors

Jun 08, 2017

Last month JOLED announced that it started to sample 21.6" 4K OLED monitors. JOLED plans to develop these OLED monitors for medical applications - it will produce these in low volume at its current 4.5-Gen pilot production line, and will start mass production in 2019.

JOLED 21.6'' 4K oled medical monitor prototypes photo

JOLED's CEO, Nobuhiro Higashiiriki, said in a conference that these first samples were shipped to Sony, which may become JOLED's first customer. JOLED says that the company managed to achieve a high quality and long lifetime, which was a challenge due to the printing process used.

OLED Microdisplays Market Report

JOLED starts to sample 21.6" 4K printed OLED monitors

May 19, 2017

JOLED announced that it started to sample 21.6" 4K OLED monitors. These monitors, demonstrated in March 2017, feature a 3840x2160 resolution (204 PPI), a brightness of 350 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000 : 1. The panel thickness is 1.3 mm and the weigh is 500 grams.

JOLED 21.6'' 4K medical OLED prototype, Cebit 2017

JOLED aims to start mass producing these panels in 2019, but will also attempt to sell these to the medical market even in low-volume production out of its current 4.5-Gen pilot production line.

LG Display is developing higher image quality OLEDs for broadcast monitors

Apr 21, 2017

LG Display announced that it developed an OLED display with a higher image quality and high color uniformity. LG Display says it is aiming to use these new OLEDs in broadcast monitors.

LGD says that the new displays feature a "Real Black" image. LG Display used various OLED and TFT compensation technologies to achieve this high uniformity and better image quality. LG Display will provide more information at SID DisplayWeek 2017 next month.

Dell brings back its UP3017Q 30" 4K OLED monitor and slashes the price by $1,500

Apr 13, 2017

In early 2016 Dell announced the world's first OLED monitor, the 30" 4K Ultrasharp UP3017Q. This interesting and innovative monitor was supposed to be shipping in March 2016 for $4,999 - but that did not happen, and reports suggested that Dell canceled this monitor as the company was unhappy with the image quality of that OLED panel - especially the amount of color drift that it displayed when you viewed the monitor from the sides.

But Dell now started shipping the UP3017Q, and the price is set at $3,499, or $1,500 lower than the original price Dell announced in 2016. Hopefully other companies will follow suit to release OLED monitors as well.

Dell cancels its 2016 30" OLED monitor

Jan 19, 2017

According to reports, Dell canceled its high-end 30" 4K OLED monitor, the Ultrasharp 30 OLED. Dell announced the monitor at CES 2016 (one year ago, exactly) and promised it will ship by the end of March 2016 for $4,999.

Apparently Dell were unhappy with the image quality of that OLED panel - especially the amount of color drift that it displayed when you viewed the monitor from the sides - which is surprising because OLED's viewing angles are excellent.

Dell announces a $4,999 30" 4K OLED monitor

Jan 07, 2016

Dell launched a new monitor, the Ultrasharp 30 OLED. This high-end monitor adopts a 30" 4K OLED panel and features a 0.1 ms response time, 100% AdobeRGB, narrow-bezel design and USB-C connection. The UltraSharp 30 OLED will ship by the end of March 2016 for $4,999.Dell UltraSharp 30 OLED photo

Dell said that it developed special technologies to compensate for image-burn in (using pixel-shifting) and the relatively short OLED lifetime (using a presence detector that switches off the display when no one is in front of the monitor).

LG Display aims to produce OLED panels for monitors in laptops by 2017

Dec 09, 2015

According to ETNews, LG display aims to start producing OLED panels for computer monitors and laptops. LG wants to diversify their OLED product lineup, and this seems like a logical next step. ETNws estimates that the first monitors will be released in 2016 or 2017.

Samsung SDI 12.1 inch laptop prototypeSamsung 12.1 inch laptop prototype, 2009

LG Display is currently focused to solve the burn-in problem inherent with OLEDs which is a problem with monitors. LG also sees blurred-images on their OLEDs when used with different image sizes and monitor frequencies and has to solve that as well. LGD will first produce monitor panels and notebooks will come next as prices will have to be lower for that market segment.

JOLED to establish a $161 million OLED research and production facility in Japan

Aug 06, 2015

According to a report from Japan, JOLED is set to establish a new OLED research facility in Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture in a $161 investment. The facility will include a pilot line that will be able to produce samples by the end of 2016, and the facility will also evolve into a mass production fab that will begin production by 2018 (this will require, of course, a much larger investment).

JDI 5.2'' film-type OLED prototype (SID 2015)

JOLED is mainly targeting medium sized (10 to 30 inch displays) to be used in tablets, laptops and monitors. JOLED is reportedly in talks with Apple regarding a possible iPad AMOLED supply agreement. This new report from Japan actually suggests that Apple aims to team up with both LGD and JOLED for a tablet OLED supply agreement - with LG Display to start supplying tablet OLEDs at the end of 2016 and JOLED To join when the new facility is ready in 2018.

LG Display to enter the professional OLED monitor market in 2016

Jun 18, 2015

According to reports from Korea, LG Display intends to produce OLED displays to used in professional broadcast-type monitors in 2016. These are probably medium to large sized displays (10" to 30") and these kinds of applications carry a high margin. The reports further say that Samsung Display is also considering entering this market.

Sony BVM-X300-photoSony BVM-X300

Sony currently offers several professional monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 30") and in several series. Sony's OLED monitors provide a superior image quality compared to LCDs, and the cost difference is not so large because in these premium products the cost of the panel itself is a small portion of the total product cost. Sony already sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and their latest monitor is the 30" 4K BVM-X300. Sony's OLED monitor success may be what's motivating LG and Samsung to enter this market.

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