Article last updated on: Sep 05, 2018

What is an OLED TV?

An OLED TV screen uses a new display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED technology enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than either LCD or Plasma displays. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!

LG EG9600 photo

OLED TV technology

OLED displays are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, light is emitted. OLED displays are emissive and unlike LCDs, do not require a backlight (unlike LCDs). OLED TV panels offers several advantages over LCDs:

  • Faster refresh rate, better contrast (true blacks) and better color reproduction
  • Better form factor - OLED enables much thinner panels
  • Better viewing angle - almost 180 degrees
  • Efficiency - in an OLED display, only the lit pixels draw power, unlike in an LCD.)
  • OLED panels can potentially be made flexible and/or transparent - think rollable TVs!

OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?

As of 2018, the only company that produces produces commercial OLED TV panels is LG Display, and LG Electronics is the leading OLED TV producer - although LGD also supplies OLED panels to other companies including including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and others.

LG OLEDW8 photoLG 2018 OLEDW8

Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, and most experts and consumers agree that these OLED TVs are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality and beautiful form factors.



LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup include the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 (which attaches to the wall using magnets), the high-end OLED-on-glass OLEDG8 and OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8. All of these TVs are now shipping globally.

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C, that used Samsung's own OLED TV panels. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon afterwards and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs (and perhaps Micro-LED will be Samsung's future TV display technology of choice).

Direct Emission vs WRGB

The most straightforward OLED architecture uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (Red, Green and Blue) to create each 'pixel'. This is referred to as a direct emission OLED, and is the design used in mobile OLED displays (for example those in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone X.

For its OLED TVs, however, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels (each created by using both blue and yellow OLED emitters) with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) was found to be easier to scale-up for large-area OLED production, although it suffers from lower efficiency and more complicated design.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions?

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. Both LG and Samsung demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes, and LGD already demonstrated 77" rollable and transparent OLED panels, which it plans to commercialize by 2020. These kinds of technologies are exciting - and while it will be some years before they reach the market, they could eventually redefine the TV of the future.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)
Samsung Display 55'' transparent OLED photo

Further reading

Latest OLED TV news

Hisense's new ULED XD technology uses dual LCD panels to achieve high contrast

China-based Hisense announced a new technology that the company says will enable its LCDs to compete with OLEDs in high contrast. The so-called ULED XD panels use two LCDs panels, on on top of the other. The inner LCD is a monochrome (geyscale) FHD LCD that is used to block the light on low brightness images, and on top of it is the usual 4K full-color LCD.

Hisense ULED XD prototype display (CES 2019)

This is basically a way to achieve a high number of 'local dimming' zones for an LCD display (over 2 million such zones, in fact). The TV itself is very bright (over 2,900 nits) and reportedly offers a great image quality and an almost perfect contrast. HiSense it will release its first ULED XD TVs later this year in China. Apparently SkyWorth is also demonstrating a similar technology at CES.

OLED Microdisplays Market Report

Sony announces its 2019 OLED TV range, with two TVs, the A9G and A8G

Sony announced its 2019 TV range, with two new OLED TVs. First up is the Master-Series A9G, that offers "consumer reference-quality image" and features Sony's X1 Ultimate Picture Processor, Pixel Contrast Booster and an automated calibration mode (including a dedicated mode for Netflix).

The A9G will be available in 55", 65" and 77". The Android TV features Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio - which means that the TV stand doubles as a high end speaker.

LG launches its first rollable TV, the 65" OLED TV R

As was reported last month, LG Electronics announced its first rollable TV (and the world's first rollable OLED devices), the 65" Signature OLED TV R. LG's new TV can roll up into its base, and has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. In Line View, there are six different modes, in which the TV can show the weather, the time, a home dashboard and more.

LG's OLED TV R, like the rest of LG's 2019 OLED range, is based on the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant. The TV also features HDMI 2.1, high frame rate (HFR) support, enhanced audio return channel (eARC), variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM). LG's flagship OLED also feature Dolby Atmos for immersive entertainment.

Samsung unveils new Micro-LED TV prototypes at CES 2019

CES is only starting tomorrow, but companies are already unveiling some of the new products and prototypes. Samsung is showing two new Micro-LED TV prototypes, a 75" consumer TV and a large 219" professional signage display.

Samsung did not reveal any details or commercialization plans for its new 75" MicroLED-TV. The company is reportedly close to release a hybrid QD-OLED TV in 2019, but it would seem that Samsung hopes that Micro-LED panels will be the company's next-gen flagship TV technology.

LG announces its 2019 OLED TV lineup

Update: LG also announces a 65" rollable OLED TV, the Signature OLED TV R

LG Electronics announced its OLED TV lineup for 2019. LG's new OLED TVs will be powered by the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor and will offer its ThinQ AI. LG says that the new OLEDs will offer better image quality and sound quality based on the new AI capabilities and new algorithms. All the new TVs will also offer new implementation of Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.

LG 2019 ThinQ AI OLED TV ad

The top of the range will be the Z9 OLED TV based on LGD's latest large 8K 88" OLED panel. There's a new wallpaper model, the OLED W9, the midrange OLED E9 and the new OLED C9 which is LG's entry level OLED TV model.

LG Display to unveil new transparent, automotive, 8k and CSO OLEDs at CES 2019

LG Display announced the OLED displays it will demonstrate at CES 2019, starting on Tuesday January 8th. We already know that LG Electronics will launch a 88" 8K OLED TV (the OLED Z9) but now LGD says it will demonstrate a 88" Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) panel - which has a sound system built into the panel (which acts as the membrane).

LGD 65'' 8K OLED panel (CES 2019)

LGD will also unveil a 65" 8K OLED - which you can see in the image above.

LG to start shipping its 8K 88" OLED Z9 TV in 2019

According to reports, LG Electronics is set to launch its 8K 88" OLED TV in 2019, and the company will unveil its flagship OLED TV in CES 2019. The 88" TV model number will be OLEDZ9, and like all of LG's 2019 OLED TVs (or at least the high-end ones) it will be based on the company's new Alpha 9 Gen-2 processor and will support HDMI 2.1 and VRR.

LG 88'' 8K OLED TV at IFA 2018

According to our information, LG Electronics will also demonstrate its rollable TV at CES (and maybe launch it as a product too) and may also bring its first foldable smartphone to the show as well.

Samsung patents a horizontal rollable OLED TV design

LG Display has already demonstrated rollable OLED TVs (and according to reports it aims to release the first such TV to the market in 2019) - but Samsung has been left behind as its current LCD-QLED TV technology choice does not enable rollable TVs.

Samsung horizontal-rollable OLED TV patent image

LGD's prototype rollable TV (unveiled in 2018) rolls vertically, inside a single case at the bottom. According to a new patent recently awarded in the US (USPTO #10,162,387) Samsung has a different design in mind - a TV that rolls horizontally, as you can see in the image above.