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 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).
Following strong demand for IT devices, and Samsung's success in the OLED laptop market, OLED makers have began to plan building new OLED production lines specifically for IT applications: laptops, tablets and monitors.
Several OLED makers, including Samsung, LG and BOE, are considering building 8.5-Gen production lines for this market. In fact DSCC estimated that there are 11 such lines under development right now. But it turns out that this is not so simple as designing the evaporation equipment for larger substrates is a challenge.
DSCC says that it expects the advanced monitor category to grow 328% in 2022, to reach 3.6 million panels. OLED monitor shipments will jump 641%, to reach 600,000 units. The growth in OLED shipments will continue, but even in 2026, OLEDs will still take a small part of the market segmented, which is dominated by mini-LED LCDs.
In 2022, DSCC sees QD-OLED panels to grab a 27% market share, while WOLEDs have a lead with a 52% market share. In total, OLEDs will have a 15% market share of the advanced monitor market.
DSCC says that global OLED revenues in Q1 2022 were around $9.5 billion, the same as in Q1 2021, even though unit shipments declined 4%.
Smartphone remained the leading OLED application, with a 79% revenue share, even though shipments decreased 8% (and revenues decreased 3%). The second largest application by shipments is wearables (16% in Q1 2022 by shipments and in 6% market share by revenues).
LG Display says that according to an original research it has conducted, OLED is the optical gaming display technology.
In this research, several gamers played different gaming genres on LCD and OLED displays, and on curved and flat displays. The study results show that a gamer’s reaction time can be improved by using OLED, while a display’s curvature provides a more immersive gaming experience.
LGD: no immediate plans to start producing OLED monitors panels, but looking at several technologies
LG Display says that it has no immediate plans to start producing OLED panels for monitor applications (at sizes of around 30-inch), but the company is looking at two different architectures for such panels.
Specifically, LGD is considering whether its WRGB OLED panels, used currently to make TV panels (sizes 42-inch and up) are suitable for 30-inch monitor panels. Another option that LGD is looking into is adopting its RGB mobile OLED (p-OLED) technology to produce monitor panels.
Dell's Alienware AW3423DW QD-OLED gaming monitor is now shipping for $1,299. This is the world's first device to sport a QD-OLED panel (produced by Samsung Display).
The Alienware AW3423DW gaming monitor sports a curved 34-inch 175Hz 3440x1440 QD-OLED panel, Nvidia G-Sync and DisplayHDR 400 True Black certification.
Demand for larger mobile OLED displays, for laptops, tablets and monitors is on the rise, and OLED makers (Led by Samsung Display) are planning to establish 8.5-Gen OLED production fabs dedicated for IT panels. The leading maker is
DSCC posted a very interesting article with predictions on this new development in the industry, saying that there are currently 11 different 15K G8.5/G8.6 IT OLED lines under development.