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:
According to reports, LG Display will start producing mid-sized W-OLED panels, as it is concerned that demand for TV panels is on the decline.
LGD will start producing 27-inch WOLED panels as early as by the end of October, targeting small TVs and gaming monitors. LGE will be LGD's first customer, and it plans to release its 27-inch OLED display in Q1 2023.
Last month LG announced its first bendable OLED monitor/TV, the OLED Flex LX3. The company now announced that it will start shipping it next month, for $2,999.
LG's OLED Flex LX3 is a bendable OLED monitor/TV that features a flexible 42" 4K 120Hz WOLED panel that can change from a flat shape to a 900R curved one (with twenty levels of possible curvature settings). Other features include D0lby Atmos, two 40W speakers, HDMI 2.1, VRR, ALLM and G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync support.
DSCC: large-area OLED equipment sales to drop to zero in 2023, but resume in 2024 mostly for CSoT's inkjet printing panels
DSCC says that spending on equipment for the production of large area OLED panels (used in TVs and monitors) have decreased from $3 billion in 2019 to $2.05 billion in 2020, $1.47 billion in 2021 and will drop further to $1.42 billion in 2022.
DSCC estimates that in 2023, the spending on such equipment will be zero. But OLED producers will resume buying large OLED equipment in 2024. Spending in 2024 will amount $2.01 billion, and in 2025 - $1.51 billion.
OLED makers are gearing up to increase production of IT OLED panels, used in laptops, monitors and tablets. Towards that, analysts expects over 10 8.5-Gen OLED lines under consideration now in the industry. This drive is led by Samsung Display that confirmed is is building a 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) OLED production line, that will begin production in 2024.
A 8-Gen (or actually 8.5-Gen) fab uses 2200x2500mm glass substrates. According to a new report in Korea, Samsung actually decided to adopt a larger glass - a 8.7-Gen 2290x2620 mm. The ~10cm increase will increase production efficiency by around 9%, but this means that current 8.5-Gen LCD equipment that Samsung hoped to use will not be usable any more.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an increased demand for high quality IT solutions, including monitors and collaborative tools, which prompted OLED display makers to start offering solutions for this market for applications like computer monitors, signage and more.
OLED displays that are 20-inch or more suffer from incompatibility with standard capacitive touch, because the thin OLED panel results in large parasitic capacitive coupling with the touch surface. The dynamic driving of OLEDs (where only lit pixels draw current) further reduces the capacitive touch performance by introducing unpredictable “display pattern noise”. These issues are easily mitigated in small area displays, but as OLEDs increase in size, the performance and costs of capacitive solutions suffer.
Samsung Display's CEO confirms plans for a 8-Gen IT OLED production line, to begin operations in 2024
Samsung Display's CEO Choi Joo-sun says that the company sees a great potential for OLED displays in the IT market (mainly notebook and monitor displays), and that Samsung is building a new 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) which will begin production in 2024. The glass efficiency at 8-Gen (uncut glass) will be 20% higher compared to Samsung's 6-Gen lines.
This new fab was already reported last year, but this is the first time we officially hear a commitment from SDC. According to DSCC, there are over 10 8.5-Gen OLED lines under consideration now in the industry, as demand for OLED panels for laptops, tablets and monitors is o the rise. Samsung is the current leader in OLED IT displays.
Earlier this month we reported that LG Display aims to start making 20-inch OLED panels, but we did not know the technology that LGD will adopt - WOLED (from its 8.5-Gen TV lines) or RGB (from its pOLED 6-Gen lines).
LGD now says that it is indeed developing panels for gaming monitors, with sizes ranging from 20-inch to 30-inch. The company also disclosed that these will be WOLED panels, produced at its 8.5-Gen lines. LGD also confirms that the first panels will be released by the end of 2022.
DSCC says that in Q2 2022, OLED panel revenues increased 12% compared to Q2 2021, while shipment units declined 3%. Fewer OLEDs were shipped, but revenues increased as we've seen an increased growth in high value panels (gaming, monitors, laptops, automotive, etc) and also an improved form factor adoption in smartphones.
In Q2 2022, smartphones remained the largest OLED application with a 76% unit and revenue share. OLED smartwatches had a 16% unit share (and a 6% revenue share), and OLED TVs had a 11% revenue share (up from 8% in Q1 2022).
JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic with an aim to become an OLED medium display producer. Following years of R&D and initial production, the company initiated mass production of its OLEDIO panels in 2021 at its new 5.5-Gen production line in Nomi, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
JOLED's panels appeared on the market, but only for high-end applications such as LG's professional monitor range. According to a new report from Korea, the company did not manage to find a new investor and is now on the verge of bankruptcy.
DSCC estimates that the OLED market will increase 2% in 2022, to reach $42 billion. Revenues for smartphones, the leading OLED application, will actually decline by 4%, but this will be offset by increases in other applications.
In fact, some applications will experience very fast growth: OLED monitors (641% unit growth, 279% revenue growth), OLED laptops (64% units, 39% revenue) and automotive displays (73% units, 68% revenue).